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close this bookAquaculture - Training Manual (Peace Corps, 1990, 350 p.)
close this folderChapter eleven: Program design - week two
View the documentSession II-1: Management plan (part one)
View the documentSession II-2: Group discussion - profit incentive in fish farming
View the documentSession II-3: Stocking of ponds
View the documentSession II-4: Group discussion - fish handling
View the documentSession II-5: Use of tools and pumps
View the documentSession II-6: Trainee evaluation of training - week two

Session II-1: Management plan (part one)

Total Time: Approximate) 2 hours structured time followed by individual time frames.


· Set goals for fish pond management component of training;

· Develop a detailed set of plans for the management of the trainee's pond;

· Begin to learn basic concepts of fish culture through application of previous knowledge and experiences;

· Practice using brainstorming, deductive reasoning and analogies as problem-solving techniques.

Overview: At this point, trainees have just been assigned the ponds that they will stock and manage throughout the remainder of training. Before they can begin working with the ponds, they must develop goals and a set of plans which they can follow to meet those goals. It is at this time that the trainees really begin to think of themselves as fish farmers and to gain insights into the concerns and activities of fish farmers. Development of management plans is a critical part of training because many of the most important, most basic concepts of warmwater aquaculture are explored during this activity. The trainees do not receive any actual technical information, and though they do receive guidance from trainers, they are obliged to use their own experiences, previous knowledge, best judgement and common sense in order to develop these plans. As various parts of the management plans are developed, the trainee is given permission to begin implementation of those parts. For now, the plans they develop just provide a starting point. Several sections of the plans are never really finished. The trainee will continue to revise and supplement them as they gain new knowledge and see the results of their management practices.

20 minutes

1. A trainer facilitates a discussion to help trainees set goals for their pond work. Point out that the trainees should think as fish farmers as well as trainees. Have them come up with two separate statements, one as a trainee and one as a fish farmer. The Trainee Goal should address using the pond to maximize their learning about fish culture. The Fish Farmer Goal should address raising fish at a profit. Point out to the trainees that writing these down as two separate goals is important because they will need to reflect upon their goals when making management decisions' and the decisions they make as trainees may not always be consistent with the decisions they make as fish farmers. The actual choices will be theirs, but it will be helpful to acknowledge that they are wearing two different hats simultaneously so that they can make their decisions with a clear understanding of their own reasoning.

1 hour and 40 minutes, variable

2. Once goals have been set, the trainees will need to make plans for the actual management of their ponds. After this point, they work with trainers on an individual basis rather than in a group. Have them begin by brainstorming a list of all of the activities they think will be involved in fish farming. Once they have this list, have them organize the items into some logical order and write an outline for the management plan. This outline should include sections on:

· Pond preparation;

· Stocking;

· Fertilizing (optional at this point - see Trainer Notes);

· Feeding;

· Sampling;

· Water quality monitoring;

· Physical pond maintenance;

· Harvesting;

· Marketing;

· Accounting/Economics.

Individual time frames

3. Once the trainee has an outline that includes the topics listed above, the trainer tells him/her that each item in the outline should be considered a major section of the plan. (In effect, the Management Plan is really a set of smaller plans that together comprise the overall plan to manage the pond). Suggest the use of separate pieces of paper for each part, making each part of the plan a separate notebook section. The trainee should fill in each section with as much detail as possible. The trainers provide direction at this stage regarding the order in which the trainee should develop the sections. Have trainee begin with sections on Pond Preparation and Stocking. Trainees should work closely with their trainers throughout this process.

4. Based on the amount of detail in the plans, logistics, scheduling and staff judgement, trainers allow trainees to begin implementation of certain sections of their management plans.

Resources and Materials:

· Blackboard and chalk (or newsprint and marker);

· Notebook paper;

· Pens;

· Comfortable work area (classroom) and area for individual meetings between trainers and trainees.

Trainer Notes:

· The flow of the discussion about goals will be influenced by whether or not a group discussion about fish farming for profit has already taken place. If it has not, the discussion may take longer. Some trainees will be much quicker than others to think in terms of farming and profitability. It is important to be sure that sometime during the course of this meeting, trainees realize that aquaculture is a form of farming rather than fisheries management, and that concerns of a fish farmer are similar to concerns of any other farmer. For some trainees, this will be a difficult concept to grasp especially if they are caught up in thinking about working in a developing country and are clouding the issue with their own preconceptions about the goals of farmers in developing countries as something separate from goals of farmers in developed countries. The way in which the trainer has to handle this depends in part on whether the training program is taking place stateside or in-country, but at some point trainees should be given food for thought about the reality of whether or not a farmer will continue to farm if a profit in some form does not materialize. Some trainees will resist this idea, especially if they have a negative emotional reaction to certain terms (i.e. profit, money, capitalism). Allow some discussion and arguing, within a reasonable time frame. Most trainees will at least agree that, as farmers, they want to maximize output for minimum input;

· Having trainees come up with two separate goal statements, one "Trainee Goal" and one "Fish Farmer Goal" is a change from previous training programs. The reason for this is to avoid confusion and mixed messages later on as trainees actually work with their ponds. In the past, trainees were encouraged to set their goals strictly as fish farmers. Having them think in these terms is very important and a critical aspect of training. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that as inexperienced trainees, they cannot realistically think and act strictly as fish farmers independent of the situation in which they are actually working. As trainees, their ponds are the most valuable tools they have for learning about the dynamics of a fish pond and experiencing the effects of various management practices. In this respect, they are encouraged to take some risks with their ponds to really maximize the learning that can be obtained from the pond work. A fish farmer whose first concern is making a profit, maximizing output for minimal input, will only be willing to take a certain amount of risk, especially without substantial experience. For example, while it may be wise for a trainee to experiment with a variety of fertilization or feeding techniques, a real farmer may not be at liberty to do so. Also, since a farmer must keep costs to a minimum, some steps may be cut out that a trainee should take. For example, an experienced farmer will balance the amount of water quality testing done against the cost and what can be predicted based on experience. A trainee, on the other hand, would be seriously limiting the learning process if he/she decides not to take numerous water quality tests in order to track cycles and learn about the effects of changes in weather, different types and quantities of feed and fertilizer, etc. By acknowledging at the beginning that the trainees are in a peculiar situation, it is hoped that they will be able to make conscious, calculated decisions, keeping both goals firmly in mind, without feeling frustrated or in a "Catch-22" position due to strong encouragement by staff to take risks but then feeling that they are failing as fish farmers because of those risks;

· Trainees should be divided among trainers for working on their management plans. They should know with which trainer they will be working, and there should be a lot of contact with the trainer throughout this process. Trainers should not work with trainees to whom another trainer has been assigned. If a trainer will be unavailable for an extended period, he/she should thoroughly brief another trainer on the progress of each trainee, and tell the trainees with which trainer they are to work during the absence;

· Development of Management Plans is a very critical component of the training program. Despite the fact that they have no access to information, trainees actually begin to think about many of the most important concepts involved in fish culture. Many trainees will be incredulous, and will make it clear that they think it is absurd, that they are expected to develop a working plan for something about which they feel they know nothing. This attitude, combined with the diversity of backgrounds and knowledge with which trainees arrive at training, make this component just as challenging and difficult for staff as it is for the trainees. It is during the initial stages of developing the Management Plans that a sense of trust between trainees and trainers can either be established or damaged. The skill and sensitivity of the trainer is therefore of the utmost importance. It is suggested that trainers practice among themselves through role playing and spend a lot of time discussing the problems they encounter and techniques they develop for working with trainees. Inexperienced trainers should sit in on discussions between experienced trainers and the trainees with whom they are working before beginning to work with trainees themselves;

· There is another point of caution that should be made to trainers. Working on management plans involves a lot of technical concepts which are very familiar and basic to the trainers, but which most of the trainees have not considered or put together in this way before now. The trainees may feel self-conscious or uneasy because of a real or perceived lack of knowledge. Because they are in a vulnerable position, trainees may easily misinterpret the tone or body language of the trainer. Trainers must be very sensitive to the feelings of the trainees and to their own actions to avoid inadvertently coming across as smug or impatient. A common reaction on the part of the trainers, as they experience sympathy for the trainees, is to be tempted to "spill beans" as a way of being nice or helpful. It is important that the trainer be extremely controlled and careful not to give in to this temptation as it can actually hinder trainees by discouraging them from being resourceful, lowering their sense of self-reliance, or robbing them of the sense of achievement they feel when they do solve a problem on their own. Trainers must be respectful, supportive, sensitive and at the same time uphold standards;

· The following are some suggestions and points to keep in mind while working with trainees on Management Plans:

· Try to help trainees draw on their own experiences and previous knowledge by helping them to see how some of those things apply to fish culture. Use of analogies is an especially valuable tool, though it may be difficult at first for the trainee to recognize the usefulness of the analogies. This is an exercise in application of various problem-solving techniques as well as an introduction to technical concepts.

· Encourage trainees, especially if they have some biology background and/or agricultural experience, to really delve into their memories and methodically think through concepts. Strengthening their own resourcefulness is another aspect of this component and ultimately builds a great deal of confidence;

· Do not, on the other hand, attempt to push a trainee who really does not have the academic background or experience to arrive at a piece of knowledge. The objective is to build confidence, not reduce it. In a case where there is missing information that absolutely cannot be arrived at through creative thinking, brainstorming or logic, the best thing the trainer can do is to ensure that the trainee recognizes that there is a gap in this particular spot, help the trainee formulate a clear question, and then encourage that trainee to fill in that piece of information at the first opportunity to do so. Reassure the trainee that there will be such an opportunity later;

· The type of guidance given by the trainer will vary. Sometimes, the trainer will need to help the trainee find an angle of attack for a problem. For example, the trainer may help the trainee break down a vague problem into a set of more specific questions that can then be tackled one at a time. Occasionally, the trainee may need a nudge on a specific technical point. Often, especially with trainees who do not have science or agriculture backgrounds, the guidance the trainer must give relates more to helping the trainee overcome the fear of exploring new territory. In this case, a trainee may be embarrassed to express ideas or afraid to take the risk of acting on those ideas and may simply need encouragement and some reinforcement that his/her thought process is valid (this is not the same as verifying the correctness of the trainee's decisions or conclusions).

· It is important to keep in mind is that brainstorming is a technique that many people have never really learned. If necessary, the trainer can point this out to the trainee and actually review the rules of brainstorming;

· The plans should be written in a way that mainly addresses the "What", "When", and "How" of the activities described. The "Why" questions should be covered in the individual discussions between the trainer and trainee. The plans themselves should be detailed, organized plans of action. Tell the trainees it should be written in such a way that they should be able to give it to someone else to follow and that person should find all of the information needed to do exactly what the author intended;

· It is not necessary for trainees to use the exact same language that the staff uses. This is important in that a discussion between a trainer and trainee can turn into a game of Password or Charades if the trainer insists that the trainee use exactly the term that the trainer would use. If the trainee describes the concept or activity clearly and the trainer knows that the trainee understands it, the trainer can either tell the trainee the technical term, or preferably, just use the trainee's term. The trainees will eventually get enough exposure to resources to learn the more common technical terms. Carrying capacity is a good example of a concept that trainees can often arrive at and describe, but for which they do not know the actual term. They often assign their own term, such as "maximum capacity" or "maximum crop" or some other descriptive term.

· The section of the management plan on fertilization is optional in the early stages of the development of plans. While almost any trainee, regardless of his/her academic background and experience, can probably reason that fish must be fed and that there are certain qualities of the water that may affect the fish, some trainees will not be able to reason, at this point, that fertilization might be an aspect of fish culture. By asking the trainee questions about what might be in the water, what fish might eat in nature, etc., the trainer might help the trainee to think about other organisms in the water, but this (or concepts like photosynthesis) can only be pushed so far with trainees who lack any background in biology. If the trainee doesn't consider it and the trainer feels it is more appropriate, fertilization can be left out of the initial outline. Once the trainee gains a little experience and begins to have access to other resources, fertilization can be added to the management plan;

· The timing and organization of going from writing the sections of the management plan to implementing them have been tried a number of ways. Trainees are not permitted to implement any section that has not been written in detail to the satisfaction of the trainer. (Note the word "approved" is not used, because any section is open to revisions, changes and additions once the trainee has tried it out and seen the results). Exactly which sections must be addressed to this extent before the trainee can begin physical work on the pond is the issue that has been approached in several ways. Unfortunately, once trainees stock their ponds and begin working, it is more difficult (mainly because of logistics) to ensure that they thoroughly cover all the required concepts in the other sections of their plans before implementing them. Ideally, it would be desirable to have all sections written before trainees ever leave the classroom. On the other hand, it is important to get the ponds stocked as soon as possible to give the trainees the longest possible growing time and the most possible experience working with their ponds and fish. Also, once the fish are in the ponds trainees feel a greater sense of urgency to get their feeding, fertilization, sampling and water quality monitoring sections done. Allowing trainees to begin pond preparation as soon as they have done that section of their plans is a good way to ease some of the tension they have been experiencing and breaks up the frustrating mental work with some physical activity. If this is done, it must be made clear to trainees that they are under some time pressure to work on their stocking sections as well. The trainer may be able to help the trainees structure their time by dividing the two tasks (pond preparation and stocking section of plan). Allowing trainees to stock their ponds before completing the other sections will probably be necessary due to the length of the training program, but staff need to put a lot of effort into their own organization in order to stay in very close touch with the progress of each trainee on the other sections of the plan. Building in certain procedures can help. For example, the appropriate trainer's initials can be required on a requisition for a Hach kit to ensure that the water quality section has been reviewed by the trainer before the trainee implements it. This is recommended, but difficulties do arise due to logistics and trainer to trainee ratios; and it can become very complicated and cumbersome. Having each trainer responsible for accounting for the progress of a specific set of trainees helps, but the difficulty of coordinating this should not be underestimated. Staff needs to commit to frequent staff meetings during this phase to closely monitor each trainee's progress;

· In the following sections, a list will be given of concepts and activities that should be addressed in the specified sections of the Management Plan. (Similar lists for other sections will be provided in Chapter Twelve.) These lists provide what is considered, in almost all cases, to be the minimum material that the trainee will need to consider and/or learn about for each section. However, this is another point where a reminder is in order to staff members regarding the importance of cautious judgement. Trainees possess different sets of skills and have a variety of backgrounds, and a certain amount of flexibility on the part of the staff is required:

· Pond Preparation:

· Consideration should be given to the condition of the pond bottom. A dry pond bottom allows for a "clean start", i.e., knowing exactly what fish are in the pond;

· Consideration of condition of dikes (rebuilding or repairing them as necessary);

· Planting or cutting of grass;

· Setting drains.

· General Pond Maintenance:
· Water management (maintaining desired levels, ability to drain and fill as needed);
· Upkeep of physical aspects of pond (dikes, vegetation, drains and inlets, etc.);
· Predator control;
· Erosion control.

· Stocking: This is one of the more difficult parts of the Management Plan and involves some of the most basic, most critical concepts that will be covered in training. Use of analogies is a particularly helpful tool for understanding concepts like carrying capacity, yield, under or overstocking, etc. Trainers need to work very closely with trainees throughout this section, and pay close attention to how well the trainee understands the concepts. The actual decisions the trainee makes (in terms of numbers, for example) are less important than those concepts.

The stocking plan can be divided into three major parts, if preferred. The first part is a description of the characteristics that would be desirable in a culture fish, the second section addresses the concepts involved in determining stocking rates and the actual numbers decided upon, and the third section describes the actual plan of action for physically stocking the fish.

Part I. Desirable characteristics of an ideal culture fish species:

· Hardy (i.e., disease resistance, ability to withstand handling and transport, wide range of tolerance in terms of water quality parameters);

· Marketable;

· Available;

· Fast growth;

· Feeds efficiently low on the food chain;

· Omnivorous;

· Reproduces easily enough to enable farmer to have own fingerlings for restocking;

· Fecundity such that enough fry are produced for restocking without overreproduction occurring (optional point for now).

Part II. Determination of stocking rate:

· Stocking densities (how many fish and total weight of fish to stock, what does it depend on, how is it determined, what affects the decision);

· Carrying capacity:

· what it is (amount of biomass of a particular organism that can be supported within a given area without gaining or losing weight);

· how it is expressed (weight/area - not number of individuals, and not per volume);

· what affects it (availability of food, oxygen, concentration of waste products, etc.);

· how it can be manipulated (providing supplemental feed, fertilization, aeration, flow-through system, etc.);

· Effects of overstocking, understocking;

· Consideration of desired harvest size based on market demand and maximization of profit (Note: not necessarily "as big as the fish can get");

· How is carrying capacity used to help determine stocking density? (Carrying capacity divided by desired harvest size results in the number of individual fish to stock. The next step is to consider the size fish to be stocked, growth rates);

· Age and size considerations (Why is a small fish not necessarily a young fish and why is this an important point when stocking? How is growth affected by the age of the fish? During what stages of its life does a farmer have the most to gain by raising the fish?).

Once all of the important concepts and factors have been considered, the relationships between the factors have been discussed, the trainee has determined a carrying capacity for his/her pond (generally based upon an analogy), and a desired market size has been decided upon, the trainee has a few options, as follows, for making the actual decision about what to stock:

· One option:

a) Divide the carrying capacity by the market size to determine the number of individuals;

b) Calculate an assumed growth rate (generally based upon another analogy);

c) Calculate how much growth is expected to occur over the length of time that the trainee will be raising the fish;

d) Back-calculate to determine the weight the individual fish should be when stocked in order to reach the desired harvest size within the given time period.

· Another option:

a) The trainee may determine that the most profit will be obtained (and/or the most knowledge if thinking in terms of the Trainee Goal) if he/she raises the fish when it is young, thus capitalizing on the fastest part of the growth curve. Thus, the trainee may choose to stock young fish, assigning a certain given size to those young fish at stocking;

b) If, according to the growth rate anticipated, these fish cannot grow to the market size within the time constraints of the program, the trainee can determine the maximum amount of growth that is possible, thus deciding upon the size the fish would be at the training harvest time. He/she would then divide the carrying capacity by that figure in order to determine the number of fish to stock in order to fulfill the maximum potential of the pond. Note: the trainee might use the following kinds of reasoning in this case: that the fish will be sold to another farmer who will in turn raise them to market size; that an extrapolation can be done, based on the information obtained through sampling and harvesting, to determine how much longer it would have taken to bring the fish to market size if he/she were to continue; and how close he/she would have come to achieving carrying capacity and market size simultaneously;

· There are other approaches the trainee could take, but the important thing is that each participant understands the factors, concepts and interrelationships. The trainer also may feel some frustration in allowing the trainee to proceed based on unrealistic expectations of carrying capacity or growth rate. It would help if the trainee did the feeding plan before making final stocking decisions because a more realistic growth rate can be determined when working through the feeding plan. However, the realities of dealing with a training program rather than an actual commercial fish farming situation come into play here. It is important to get the ponds stocked as soon as possible to maximize the time the trainees spend raising fish. Furthermore, trying to cover too much territory at once (in terms of concepts) could be very confusing and overwhelming. Trainers just need to remember that the trainees will learn from mistakes just as well as, and perhaps better than, they would if they did everything exactly correctly based on input from the staff. They will have plenty of opportunities to obtain more specific information as training progresses. Again, the concepts are more important than the numbers.

· The result of this section of the stocking plan should be a stocking request, which states the number of fish being requested, the weight of fish being requested, the expected harvest numbers and weights and the length of the growing period.

Part III. Plan of action for physically stocking the pond:

· How fish will be removed from where they are (if being obtained from another pond);

· How fish will be handled;

· What information will be taken, and how it will be taken (weights, lengths, numbers);

· How fish will be transported to the trainee's pond;

· How fish will be introduced into the trainee's pond;

· Equipment and materials needed.

Session II-2: Group discussion - profit incentive in fish farming

Total time: 35 minutes


· Put aquaculture in the context of farming and private enterprise

· Consider the meaning of profit, and how profit is an incentive in aquaculture;

· Encourage reflection on possible preconceived ideas of the Volunteer's role in the development of fish culture.

Overview: This session serves as a forum for a group discussion, primarily among the trainees, during which they can reflect upon an aspect of the job they will do overseas they may not yet have considered in depth. Some trainees may not actually think of aquaculture as a type of farming, or as a business. Often, trainees have preconceived notions about why fish culture is being promoted in the countries in which they will serve, how fish culture is perceived by host country farmers, and what the host country farmers hope to gain by raising fish. For some, the word "profit" has negative connotations. This discussion is not necessarily meant to result in any concrete conclusions, but is meant to provide food for thought and to help trainees see fish farming, and their roles as Peace Corps fisheries extensionists, in a more realistic light.

30 minutes

1. The trainer introduces the session by telling the trainees that they should spend this time thinking and talking about the idea of fish farming for profit. The trainer facilitates the session mainly by maintaining some order, if necessary, and by posing questions that may help trigger reflection and discussion. Suggested questions include:

· What do you think/feel when you hear the word "profit"?

· Why does this word sometimes elicit a negative response from many young Americans?

· What is profit? Define the term.

· Should farmers be trying to make a profit in a country where people are trying to feed themselves?

· Why might a person want to turn fish into money?

· What is a cash crop? What is a subsistence crop?

· What if a farmer only has cash crops? What if he only has subsistence crops?

· What happens to a country if farmers do not make a profit?

· What do you think happens to the fish culture business if farmers do not make a profit?

5 minutes

2. The trainer brings the meeting to a close by asking for a volunteer to summarize what has been discussed. Encourage the trainees to continue to think about this topic and to discuss it further among themselves.

Trainer Notes:

· It is hoped that the trainees will come away from this meeting with a stronger sense of the importance of profit as the main incentive for fish farmers. This will be especially provocative for those trainees who previously may have viewed the purpose of fish farming in developing countries as being strictly for subsistence and improved health, and who may have had the idea that people in developing countries are less interested in profit than are people from "developed" countries;

· In defining profit, it is hoped that trainees will conclude that profit does not have to be in the form of money (though, ultimately, money is important to farmers everywhere), but that no farmer is likely to continue farming a crop that does not produce a profit in some form.

Session II-3: Stocking of ponds

Time frame: Variable.

It is impossible to give a time frame for stocking ponds since this will take a different amount of time for each trainee. Some factors that affect the amount of time needed are where the fish are being obtained, whether trainees are working alone or in teams, whether each trainee will obtain all of his/her fish from one location, the distance the fish must be moved, and the amount of fish the trainee stocks. Although individual time frames cannot be predicted, the staff should set a specific date by which all ponds must be stocked.


- Get trainees' ponds stocked with fish;

- Obtain hands-on experience in harvesting, handling and moving fish;

- Learn through experience the importance of planning and organization when moving fish.

Overview: This is a field activity during which trainees stock their ponds based on decisions they made in the development of their management plans. For many, it will be their first experience actually working with harvesting equipment and handling fish. They will manage the ponds throughout the remainder of the training program.

1. The trainee submits a stocking request statement to a designated staff member after completing the stocking plan and being instructed to do so by the trainer with whom he/she has been working. The staff member informs the trainee of the location of the fish stocks, and tells the trainee whether or not to initiate stocking.

2. If the trainee will be working with other trainees during the stocking process, the trainer informs the trainee of this and instructs him/her to meet with the other team members to plan their work. The trainer states clearly that even if they are working in teams to remove the fish from their present location, each trainee is completely responsible for stocking his/her own pond and for collecting any data on the fish.

3. Trainees requisition the necessary equipment and commence stocking their ponds.

4. After stocking is completed, each trainee is required to turn in a statement describing exactly what they actually stocked, i.e., the number of fish, the individual weights and the total weight. Remind trainees to put their pond number and the stocking date on the statement as well.

Resources and Materials:

· Fish in sufficient numbers, sizes and ages of O. niloticus or O. aureus to stock all ponds and to provide some variety in what different trainees stock (other fish species can be included for diversity or as needed);

· Harvesting equipment as appropriate for the numbers of trainees, the ponds from which fish will be removed, the species, size and amount of fish to be moved. This includes: seine nets, dip nets, baskets, holding cages, tubs, buckets, etc.;

· Equipment for weighing and measuring fish, including scales (should have a variety of scales, some of which can be used to weigh larger fish in buckets of water, others which can weigh very small fish), measuring boards or rulers, tripods for hanging scales (or materials that can be used to make them);

· If trainees need to move the fish a fairly long distance, wheelbarrows may be helpful;

· If fish are to be transported from outside the training site, a vehicle, transport containers and possibly some form of aeration equipment may be appropriate.

Trainer Notes:

· Stocking can be very complicated logistically. One trainer should be designated coordinator, and all fish movement should be through this person. This coordinator must know, in advance, exactly what fish are where, and will need to keep careful records on inventories as they change during stocking;

· It is not always possible, or even desirable, to give trainees exactly what they request. If the size fish the trainee requested is not available, tell the trainee that he/she will have to make the necessary adjustments to the plan using the closest size fish that is available (for example, if the trainee requested 200 fish at 50 grams each, but will need to use 25 gram fish, the stocking number should be increased to 400 fish). If there are not sufficient numbers of fish, the trainee will again need to make adjustments in the plans and predictions based upon what is actually available for stocking.;

· For this first experience in stocking fish, it is preferable to have trainees work alone. However, due to either logistics considerations, time constraints or fish availability, it may be more practical to have trainees work in teams. If this is the case, be sure to give the trainees the instructions mentioned in step number 2, above. If there are not enough fish in the pond from which a team will be obtaining their fish to provide each team member with the amount requested, tell the team to divide the fish proportionately among them based on their requests;

· Since, for many, this will be the first experience harvesting, handling and moving fish, the staff should be prepared to see many mistakes being made. This is an important learning experience and except in very extreme circumstances, the staff should not interfere during the stocking process. Trainees will have an opportunity to reflect upon and critique their own actions shortly after this experience, and will have ample opportunities to apply what they learn and improve their techniques throughout the program.

Session II-4: Group discussion - fish handling

Total time: 1 hour


· Share experiences from working with fish during stocking;

· Provide opportunity for trainees to compare, reflect on and critique their fish handling techniques;

· Emphasize the delicate nature of fish and the importance of proper, gentle handling to maximize health, growth and, ultimately, yield and profits;

· Establish some guidelines for handling fish.

Overview: This discussion provides an opportunity for trainees to process what they experienced during the stocking of their ponds and to clarify and discuss what they learned about handling fish. By sharing their experiences, comparing techniques and having a chance to think objectively about what occurred, they can draw some conclusions and put together a set of guidelines they can apply to future fish handling situations. As in other processing discussions, having the opportunity to discuss this among themselves also serves to relieve anxiety for some trainees.

5 minutes

1. The trainer introduces the meeting by informing the trainees that the topic of discussion will be fish handling. They are told that they will have a chance to share their experiences and compare ideas. The trainer points out that for many this was a first experience in working with fish, and encourages the trainees to think about what they did and to critique their efforts. They should think about what they did that they feel was good for the fish, as well as how they could improve their methods and techniques next time.

15 minutes

2. The trainer asks the trainee panel (selected and notified prior to the session - see Trainer Notes) to come to the front of the room. Panel members each take a few minutes to describe, in detail, exactly how they harvested, handled and moved their fish. The trainees should be encouraged to think about this "from the fish's point of view", and to address what effects they think their actions had on the fish.

25 minutes

3. Allow the panel members an opportunity to critique their own actions, then ask for input from the other trainees. Ask the rest of the group if anyone did anything very differently from the panel members that they would also like to share. At this point, the discussion should be open and mainly among the trainees themselves. Some questions that trainers can pose to stimulate the trainees' thoughts and conversation include:

· At what points in the process of handling and moving fish are the fish most vulnerable?
· In what ways can fish be injured or stressed?
· What are the relationships between good handling of the fish and efficiency for the farmer?
· What were some of the best things you did?
· What were some of the worst things you did?

During this discussion, the trainers can bring up things they observed during the stocking process that the trainees did not mention and ask the trainees for their reactions. (Caution: if trainers do bring up examples of poor handling, do not mention the names of the trainees involved).

5 minutes

4. The trainer asks the trainees to take five minutes and jot down some of the most important points they now know about handling fish properly.

10 minutes

5. The trainer asks the trainees to contribute their ideas to put together a good set of guidelines for proper fish handling. As the trainees volunteer their contributions, a trainer records their points on newsprint. The newsprint list is then posted in the classroom for the remainder of the day so that everyone has an opportunity to copy it.

Resources and Materials:

· Blackboard, chalk, eraser (trainees may want to illustrate a method they used on the board);
· Newsprint, markers, masking tape.

Trainer Notes:

· To avoid embarrassing trainees, or making them feel uncomfortable, select and notify panel members before the meeting. Choose trainees who, based upon observations by staff members, used a variety of techniques (both good and bad) when handling their fish. Also consider the trainees' personalities, sense of humor, and sense of perspective to be sure that they will be willing and able to relate their experiences openly, be open to criticism by the other trainees, and have the ability to laugh at themselves if appropriate, yet still understand and reflect the seriousness of the topic. Ask them if they are willing to be on the panel, rather than telling them that they have to be;

· The discussions should explore methods and techniques used during all phases in which fish were affected: seining, removing fish from the net, moving fish from one container to another, physically handling the fish with hands, weighing and measuring the fish, holding the fish while waiting to get more or while weighing them, moving the fish from one location to another, and introducing the fish into the new pond. All of these things should be examined from the point of view of the effects on the fish;

· One key point that should come out of the discussion that may not be immediately obvious is the importance of good planning and organization. Each person involved should know exactly what will be done at every step, and all equipment should be in good condition, prepared and in the best location to facilitate an efficient operation. The pond from which fish are being removed should be properly prepared (for example, one might choose to lower the water level); also, the pond into which the fish will be stocked should be prepared (sufficiently full of water, water quality and temperature should have been tested, etc.). This will eliminate unnecessary steps or handling, minimize movement of fish and will allow for the fastest and most efficient operation;

· Some of the key points that should be included in the trainees' list of guidelines include (but not necessarily be limited to) the following:

· Be well prepared. Have entire operation well planned and organized. (see note above);

· Use the appropriate equipment for the fish being handled. For example, choose the proper size mesh net to avoid gilling fish, use the appropriate kind of net, (such as treated nets for catfish, softer nets for small, scaled fish, etc.);

· Keep fish in water as much as possible;

· Keep fish in fresh, clean water (not muddy water from pond being seined);

· Handle fish as little as possible;

· Minimize number of times fish must be moved from one container or net to another;

· Wet hands before touching fish;

· Minimize amount of time fish have to be held in buckets or tubs and monitor them closely;

· Do not overcrowd fish in nets, tubs or buckets;

· If holding fish in a net, keep the net suspended in water and be sure fish are not rolled or crowded in the net;

· While holding fish in tubs or buckets, keep out of direct sunlight, covered and/or in shade to keep water cool;

· When weighing fish, weigh them in water (weigh container with water first);

· If measuring fish, keep board very wet and do it as quickly as possible;

· Acclimate fish before putting them into a different pond;

· Never dump or throw fish, tip container gently and allow them to swim out;

· Move as quickly and efficiently as possible, but remain calm, do not panic, and make the fish the first priority;

· As Dr. Clemens used to say, "Treat each fish as if it were the last of its species!"

Session II-5: Use of tools and pumps

Total Time: Integrated into other activities


· Make equipment available to trainees in an efficient manner;

· Familiarize trainees with available equipment;

· Provide experience in following set procedures and working within a bureaucratic system.

Overview:: This is not a session, but is really a set of notes to trainers about the procedures that should be followed by trainees in order to obtain the use of equipment and pumps as needed to begin implementing the first few steps of their Management Plans. At this point, trainees do not yet have free access to the equipment. Responsibility for sheds and equipment is turned over to them in Week Three, and this transfer will be addressed in Chapter Twelve.

1. Once the trainee has developed a management plan to the point where the responsible trainer gives him/her permission to begin pond preparation, the trainer directs the trainee to the equipment shed to see the staff person who is in charge there.

2. At the shed, the trainer in charge instructs the trainee to enter the shed and make very thorough observations of all of the contents of the shed. As a result, each trainee will have his/her own inventory of the tools and equipment available in the shed.

3. When the trainee has completed the inventory, the trainer explains that a requisition must be submitted in order to borrow any of the equipment. The trainer explains the system for requisitioning equipment and shows the trainee a sample requisition that illustrates the required format. Requisitions must be neat and clean, and very clear, specific descriptions should be given of the equipment being requested. From this point on until the responsibility for the shed is turned over to the trainees, the trainee may not enter the shed again.

4. From the equipment shed, the trainer sends the trainee to see the trainer who is in charge of the pump (or whatever water supply system exists at the site). The trainer in charge of the pump gives the trainee a very detailed description and demonstration, addressing the proper use, care and maintenance of the pump. This includes all information that is necessary for using the pump and for keeping it in excellent repair when it is being used by many people. (For example, there should probably be a set procedure for checking oil level, grease points, belts and valves before turning on the pump. There may be requirements on how many valves must be open while the pump is running, etc.) Appropriate safety precautions should also be emphasized (not touching the switch or pump when wet, not touching moving belts, etc. as appropriate). For now, pump use also must be requisitioned, and information needed to use the pump should include whatever is appropriate, such as running time, number of gallons of water, etc.

Trainer Notes:

· There should already be certain staff members who have been designated as being in charge of the equipment sheds and pumps. These trainers should have done complete inventories prior to the time the trainees arrive. All equipment should be in excellent condition, and sheds should be clean, neat and organized when trainees see them in order to set an appropriate standard for when the trainees take over the responsibilities for sheds, equipment and pumps;

· During the period when trainees may requisition equipment but have not yet taken over responsibility for the sheds, there is a great demand on trainers' time for accepting requisitions and distributing equipment. Once most of the trainees have done their inventories, the duties for supervising the shed can be shared among staff members (or the trainer in charge of the shed should be relieved of other responsibilities in order to man the shed full time but this can be very tiring for the trainer). The trainer in charge must make certain that all staff members are well informed about the procedures that have been described to the trainees and consistency is imperative.

Session II-6: Trainee evaluation of training - week two

Total Time Variable


· Provide feedback to the training staff from the trainees;

· Evaluate training activities;

· Provide an alternative channel of communication through which trainees can express concerns or opinions to the staff.

Overview: This is an example of how trainees may evaluate and express their reactions about the training program as they participate. Trainees are asked to evaluate the program at the ends of weeks two, four, six and ten. A sample of the evaluation form used in this program is given.

· The Master Trainer informs the trainees that a form is being distributed in order for them to evaluate the training program up to this point. It is pointed out that it is their choice whether or not to put their names on form. The Master Trainer can also point out that some people are more comfortable expressing themselves in writing, while others prefer to communicate verbally. Thus, anyone who has thoughts they would like to share with the staff verbally is encouraged to arrange for a special meeting. All input is welcome. Trainees do not need to feel limited by the format, and are welcome to add any points, comments or suggestions they may have. If, for some reason, a trainee would prefer not to fill out the form at all, request that it be returned blank so that all forms will be accounted for;

· The Master Trainer should be sure to allow enough time for the trainees to fill out the forms in a relaxed an thoughtful manner. If preferred, the staff may choose to let the trainees work on the forms overnight and turn them in the following day. This may be more comfortable for the trainees, but experience shows that if this option is taken, some of the trainees may not return the forms at all;

· Once completed evaluation forms have been turned in, the Project Director and/or Master Trainer should review them carefully. A summary of the trainees' comments should be shared with the entire training staff, and any special concerns, complaints, suggestions, etc. expressed by the trainees should be discussed with staff members as appropriate. (For example, if trainees comment on something that affects, or is a result of, the actions of the whole staff, it should be discussed with the whole staff. If one staff member has been singled out for some specific reason, it might be more appropriate to discuss it privately with that staff member);

· Issues that are raised by several trainees or that seem to be of concern to a large part of the group (as opposed to more isolated points) should be addressed with the trainees. Even if the response is to tell them that no change can be made or that a request cannot be met, the issues must at least be acknowledged. If there are common complaints about a particular issue or if suggestions are made that seem feasible and appropriate, the staff should make an effort to accommodate the trainees if these accommodations are consistent with the basic philosophies, methods and structure of the program;

· In responding to issues raised by trainees, the staff member who speaks with the group must be careful not to come across as defensive, resentful or angry. Staff should demonstrate the same openness to feedback that is expected of trainees.

· Following is a sample format that could be used:

Name (optional)________________

1. On a scale from 1 to 5, rate the value of the following activities (0 = not at all valuable, 5 = extremely valuable), and give suggestions for improvement:
First Day Orientation

Posted Questions in Classroom

Pond System Observations

Personal Interviews

End of Week Meeting, Week One ("Bridge to Peace Corps")

Development of Management Plans

Group Discussion about Profit Incentive in Fish Farming

Stocking Ponds

Group Discussion about Fish Handling

2. How satisfied are you with your progress since your arrival at the training program? (very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, satisfied, very satisfied)

3. If you are not "very satisfied" with your progress, what factors are related to your own performance?

4. What factors are related to the training activities, resources, and/or staff?

5. Please rate the following aspects of the program that are not related to technical training. (Unsatisfactory, Fair, Good, Very Good). Please make comments or give suggestions for improvement. Housing



Medical Care

Addressing of Personal Needs (recreation, shopping, mail, etc.)