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4.1 Manpower training in aquaculture technologies
4.2 Manpower training in management
4.3 Aquaculture research in the region
4.4 Management of credit
4.5 Associations of professionals in the region
4.6 Information for professionals
4.7 Technical assistance projects in the sub-sector
4.8 Capital assistance

4.1 Manpower training in aquaculture technologies

With some exceptions the educational level of the Caribbean peoples is relatively high. School enrollment for primary and secondary schools is on average above 80%. This compares favourably with averages for Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In the overall strategy for aquaculture development, educated and trained technicians at the intermediate level are considered to be the basic building components of the sector, eventually to become leading administrative and research personnel in government or private institutions, staff of the national extension services, and technical personnel in the private sector.

The high capital outlay and recurrent costs of training institutions, the limited size of individual countries of the region, and difficulties in obtaining adequately trained teaching staff, are factors which constrain national training and favour regional and sub-regional training.

The capability of Jamaica in providing aquaculture training is important in the region. Technical training is offered at all levels, with special technical courses at universities, general mid-level technician training, and farmer training. The Zoology Department at the University of the West Indies offers the high level training for the region. The Inland Fisheries Unit offers formal and informal technician training. The Jamaica College of Agriculture also operates at mid-level, and receives external students from other English-speaking Caribbean countries. Students are given a brief course in aquaculture during their final year of studies. Some organizations, both private and public, offer informal training with sporadic courses for extensionists, technicians, and farmers (classroom sessions, field demonstrations, and supervised technology transfer on farms).

The Caribbean Fisheries Training Development Institute was originally established as a regional institution by the Governments of Barbados, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago in 1975. Following the withdrawal of Barbados and Guyana it ceased to function as a regional entity. It was reactivated by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to satisfy its training needs with respect to the 1980-89 Fisheries Development Programme. Despite its capabilities, training in aquaculture is not carried out.

A joint proposal by FAO/ADCP, and CARICOM in 1982 recommended the formation of a Caribbean Regional Aquaculture Centre. Given the present economic situation in the region and the reluctance of CARICOM members to establish any new regional institutions, the centre may never be accomplished. It has therefore been suggested that a consortium of existing training and research institutions in the region, using a modular approach, institutionalize training needs for aquaculture. No decision has yet been made.

In Cuba training in aquaculture is undertaken at three levels, for qualified labourers, middle-level technicians, and upper-level technicians. Qualified labourers are trained through short formal and informal courses on subjects directly relevant to their functions as fishermen, fish handlers, and hatchery workers. Middle-level technicians attend the Andrés Gonzalez Lines Institute of the Fishing Industry Ministry. A two-year programme is given which includes a theoretical course, a field training session, and the preparation of a research thesis under professional guidance. Eighty-four foreign technicians, some from the region, have graduated from the Institute. Upper-level technicians are biologists, agronomists, and veterinarians who receive specialized training in aquaculture, either in-country or abroad, and in some instances candidates follow post-graduate degrees.

In Dominican Republic training in aquaculture is well established. The Fisheries and Aquaculture Experimental Station of the University of Santo Domingo has trained 10 graduates in aquaculture, and 15 technicians. The Universidad Central del Este has built an Aquaculture Research Centre which provides training for middle-level technicians. 80% of the 60 technicians who have been trained are presently employed by aquaculture producers. The National University has inaugurated an Aquaculture School which will offer a specialized career in aquaculture.

Post-graduate courses in aquaculture-related disciplines are offered at the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane in Guadeloupe. Mid-level four month training courses are offered regularly in Martinique by the Aquaculture Association with financial support of the Regional Government and EEC.

For most post-graduate studies in aquaculture, or in relevant applications such as genetics, pathology, zoology, fisheries, and ecology, etc., many Caribbean students attend universities in North America, Europe, or the Soviet Union. Predominant in providing financial assistance for higher education have been agencies from USA (USAID), Canada (IDRC and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)), and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The public sector usually sponsors its own staff through associated multilateral and bilateral assistance projects in the country.

Since 1986 AQUILA has organized in collaboration with national institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean a number of training courses and other activities on various topics of aquaculture. These were:

- 8 regional training courses in 5 countries with a total participation of 164 representatives from 20 countries; the subjects of the courses were: pathology, nutrition, culture-based fisheries, post-harvest handling, and preservation technology, reproduction, sector planning and management, and marine hatchery technology;

- 11 national courses in 6 countries with a total participation of 323 attendees; these courses were in the following subjects: mollusc culture, lakes and impoundment fishery management, post-harvest handling and preservation, technology, nutrition, and culture of colossoma;

- 10 regional seminars of coordination and collaboration on Gracilaria culture, shrimp pathology, coastal lagoon management, inland water impoundment management, mollusc culture, and an Aquaculture Information Reference System (SIRIAC).

4.2 Manpower training in management

Non-technical subject matters of aquaculture, such as sector planning, farm management, project formulation and evaluation, marketing, legislation, and methodology of extension, have so far been neglected by most study programmes and curricula of the degrees offered by universities. This reflects the lack of expertise in these areas, all of which are vital for the development of the sector. Moreover, none of the national public management training institutions in the region has offered specialized courses for government aquaculture staff who, although already graduates, have little experience in the management of government institutions, aquaculture production units, hatcheries and laboratories, and credit programmes.

The Regional Aquaculture Centre in Brazil was established by UNDP/FAO for the training of senior aquaculturists (mostly from government departments) but the course did not address aspects of management. In recognizing this deficiency, AQUILA has organized an annual Basic Course on Planning and Management of Aquaculture with the objective of strengthening public administration capabilities. The first course was implemented in Mexico in 1988, and the second one was offered in 1989 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

With the objective of assessing general requirements for growth and development of aquaculture in CARICOM countries, and to identify support services, FAO through its Technical Cooperation Programme organized a Planning and Sensitization Seminar on Management for Aquaculture in 1987. A follow-up workshop was also organized to elaborate aquaculture education and training programmes, to determine their objectives, scope, contents, and other related activities essential to satisfy previously identified needs.

Aquaculture development in the region is also being promoted through the Caribbean Technical Cooperation Network in Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture sponsored by FAO. The Network is based on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC), with emphasis on training and technology. Since the creation of the Network in 1986 several study tours for decision-makers (and others) have been held.

4.3 Aquaculture research in the region

Fundamental and applied research in aquaculture are carried out by many of the universities in the region, specifically at institutes for marine and oceanographic research. There are many such centres in the main islands.

At the Centro de Investigaciones Pesqueras in La Habana, Cuba there is research on local marine species, such as Crassostrea rhizophorea, Penaeus schmitti and P. notialis, Mugil curuma, Ocyurus chrysurus, and Lutjanus spp., as well as hybrids of Tilapia spp. for the production of red tilapia.

At the University of the West Indies research is carried out on its three campuses in Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad and Tobago. Most of the research and training is concentrated in the Department of Zoology at Mona (Kingston, Jamaica). Research programmes deal with tilapia, spirulina, green turtles, and some freshwater fishes.

At the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane in Guadeloupe there is work on breeding local clams, and growth of local fish in pens and cages.

At the Institute of Marine Affairs in Trinidad there are facilities for research on freshwater fish, and the work is mainly on the reproduction of cascadura (Hoplosternum littorale).

In the French Antilles, IFREMER, a public institution of the French Government, is engaged in research on the freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium spp.) and the red drum (Sciaenops oscellatus).

Many of the national governments have established special research units within their respective fisheries departments to carry out applied research on specific projects, for example, on the culture of seaweed in the Lesser Antilles, on freshwater fish in Jamaica, on tilapia and freshwater prawn in St. Vincent, and on tilapia culture in Haiti.

There is little cooperation between the different research institutions in the region, even those working on the same species. One existing network is organized for the exchange of written information through the FAO Caribbean Network in Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture. Several of the research centres participate in certain aquaculture sessions occasionally organized by the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute at the annual sessions.

4.4 Management of credit

Credit for the aquaculture sector is usually managed and organized as a component of a larger related sector, such as agriculture or fisheries. In most of the countries of the region credit for agriculture is provided by the national agricultural development banks. In the French Antilles there is a channel through a cooperative bank for fisheries.

In CARICOM countries loans with low interest can be obtained from EDF through the CDB. In the Greater Antilles, and some of the most developed Lesser Antilles, commercial banks receive requests for funding larger projects.

In most countries neither the national agricultural development banks nor other specialized development institutions have the required experienced personnel to evaluate the technical and financial feasibility of aquaculture projects. Jamaica is an exception. The Agricultural Credit Bank of Jamaica, Ltd., the Jamaica National Investment Promotion Ltd., the National Commerce Bank, the Jamaica Agricultural Development Foundation, and Agro-21 Corporation Ltd., among other state and private financial institutions participating in the promotion and development of aquaculture, have trained individuals who specialize in aquaculture.

In those countries with only small commercial aquaculture sectors one problem in the management of credit for the sector has been the absence of policies which fit the peculiarities of the specific activity. This has been particularly difficult with credit programmes for increasing fish culture among small-scale farmers. Potential borrowers have had little previous contact with the formal banking sector, and policies of the banks do not often permit extended credit based on the collateral available to such farmers, such as the ponds and value of the livestock. Corporate producers, on the other hand, who are more used to banking policies and practices and have collateral (the land beneath the ponds), have repeatedly used the credit arrangements provided by banks.

4.5 Associations of professionals in the region

ALA is one of the few associations for professionals in the region. It has 1 300 members representing some 200 institutions and companies from 27 countries and is headquartered in Lima, Peru. Both Cuba and Dominican Republic are represented in ALA.

The Caribbean Aquaculture Association, based in Puerto Rico, groups professionals and producers from many countries of the region. One of its outstanding achievements was organization of the Caribbean Aquaculture and Trade Expo '87, which allowed the scientific community opportunity to exchange experiences and learn about the latest developments in its member countries. The event also helped the industry and the academic community to broaden their networks of colleagues and resources. The event highlighted state-of-the-art equipment, technology, and services available to the regional market.

A number of professionals from the national universities and research institutes are members of WAS, particularly those who have been educated or trained in the USA and Europe; and many of these same individuals are indirectly participating members of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute. The American Fisheries Society also attracts professionals from the region, particularly as the Society has a number of working groups on aquaculture topics.

4.6 Information for professionals

There is no scientific and technical publication which deals specifically with aquaculture in the region. The proceedings of meetings of the Gulf and Caribbean Institute contain occasional information about the sector.

One publication for the exchange of news on aquaculture in the Caribbean is the Network News. This is published periodically by the FAO Regional Fisheries Officer in charge of the Caribbean Technical Cooperation Network in Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture.

"Revista Latinoamericana de Acuicultura", published by OLDEPESCA of which Cuba is a member country, contains three basic sections, namely news, technical and scientific articles, and bibliographical data. It is a source of information on as-yet unpublished research and production data of direct interest to the region.

ALA recently began to publish a two-monthly bulletin, "ALA Informativo", which is circulated to its members.

The Universidad de La Habana in Cuba publishes "Ciencias e Investigaciones Marinas" which contains various articles on aquaculture. The "Revista Cubana de Investigaciones Pesqueras" is more concerned with culture-based fisheries. The "Boletín Técnico de Acuicultura" is also relevant to professionals.

Professionals in the region have access to information through personal subscriptions to the large number of publications produced in the USA and Europe. These include the following journals, "Aquaculture" (published in the Netherlands); "Aquaculture Engineering", "Journal of Fish Biology", and "Journal of Fish Diseases" (all in the UK); "Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences" (Canada); and "Progressive Fish Culturist" (USA).

Useful articles for professionals are also found in trade magazines and papers, such as "Aquaculture Magazine", "Fisheries", and "Farm Pond Harvest" (USA), and "Fish Farming International" and "Fish Farmer" (UK). Important news items are also found in "Aquaculture Digest" (USA).

There are few interregional publications, with the exception of the INFOFISH International, a two-monthly magazine produced in association with INFOPESCA (see 1.6) which occasionally contains articles on aquaculture relevant to the region.

WAS publishes a journal which is free to members, as well as a Newsletter. WAS also produces special volumes on aquaculture technology which are available at reduced rates to members.

The largest source of information for aquaculture professionals is FAO at its Headquarters in Rome, Italy. The FAO Fisheries Department produces a series of publications, many of which are relevant to aquaculture. These are FAO Fisheries Reports, FAO Fisheries Technical Papers, and FAO Fisheries Synopses. All titles are categorized and produced regularly. Some documents are free and others are priced.

FAO maintains a database in which aquaculture information can be found. ASFA is an international bibliographic database providing comprehensive coverage of publications on the science, technology, and management of marine and freshwater environments. The database can be searched via terminals and personal computers to retrieval systems in Canada, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, and the USA; and it is also available on compact disc. Aquaculture Abstracts from ASFA are available also in printed form through subscription.

The FAO Fisheries Department Library is probably the largest repository of books on fisheries and related topics, many of which are on aquaculture subjects. It maintains a large serial collection of all subjects related to fish and fisheries from fisheries institutes, government departments, and commercial publishers throughout the world, and a special collection of documents on a country basis and subject files.

In recognizing the needs of exchange of information on aquaculture among researchers and professionals, AQUILA instituted SIRIAC compatible with CARIS/FAO (Current Agricultural Research Information System). National research institutions, individual researchers, libraries and other documentation centres have been invited to submit information on current aquaculture research to form the database of this information system compiled in MICRO/CDS/ISI software distributed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). Initially 6 countries (Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela) participated in this project, although it is envisaged that all other countries of the region will eventually integrate themselves into SIRIAC, which would thus constitute one of the main sources of information for professionals and researchers within the region. Mexico is the designated host for SIRIAC.

4.7 Technical assistance projects in the sub-sector

Amongst the activities included in this sub-sector of national infrastructure, support has been directed mainly at aquaculture research and training in aquaculture technologies.

Aquaculture research has received widespread assistance (both geographically and with species) from IDRC and the International Foundation for Science (IFS). This support usually takes the form of research grants. Most recipients of grants are based in national universities and other research institutions. Their research is often basic in nature but usually concerns either a species or a subject of direct relevance to aquaculture. Countries presently receiving support are Haiti, Cuba, and St. Lucia in disciplines related to larval rearing, reproduction, and equipment for government fish farms.

Aquaculture training in Jamaica has been supported by USAID. Between 1969 and 1983 some US$ 600 000 were used for training of personnel and US$ 60 000 worth of equipment was donated to the Zoology Department of the University of the West Indies. Other support for research on the rearing of larvae of commercially valuable species of shellfish came from EDF through the EEC Lome II and III Conventions. IDRC also supported an oyster culture research project with a grant of Can.$ 196 000.

The Dominican Republic has received over US$ 1 million from IFS, OAS, IDRC, USAID, and the Governments of Italy, the Soviet Union, and Taiwan PC for research and training projects. Much of this assistance has been channelled through NGOs dedicated to aquaculture promotion, such as the Research Centre for the Improvement of Animal Production, the Social Service of the Dominican Churches, the Natura Dominicana Foundation (in collaboration with Marine Systems Laboratory of the Smithsonian Institution), and the Pro-Research and Conservation Dominican Foundation.

USAID has been a substantial source of technical assistance in the region, either directly in research or through post-graduate training in aquaculture at universities in the USA, particularly Auburn University and the University of Rhode Island.

Since 1986 AQUILA, funded by the Government of Italy and executed by FAO, has as one of its principal objectives support for research and training. The project also produces and disseminates information through its research networks, and in training topics, including planning and management. AQUILA is based in Brazil but its activities have covered 19 countries, 2 of which belong to the region.

4.8 Capital assistance

Bilateral agencies (particularly CIDA and USAID) limit their capital assistance to technical equipment (and some outdoor ponds) rather than building construction, and only to established research centres managed by the public sector. France, through France-Aquaculture, has contributed to the construction of freshwater prawn culture demonstration and training facilities in both Guadeloupe and Martinique.

IDRC has funded the construction of several demonstration pilot farms for the cultivation of sea moss in St. Lucia, while the International Centre for Ocean Development is funding similar facilities in Grenada.

Little if any capital assistance is contributed to the construction of training institutions. Support which has been given for training has often (and particularly for multilateral assistance) been conditional on the host governments providing all funds for physical infrastructure. UNDP is upgrading a demonstration and training state hatchery in Haiti.

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