|Fish Handling, Preservation and Processing in the Tropics: Part 2 (NRI)|
At the lowest levels of rural existence, there is no room for failure because there are no reserves. The failure of migratory fish to appear in their appointed season, the loss of a catch through gear failure, loss of gear through stress of weather or the loss of a batch of processed fish through spoilage are major disasters. In extreme cases, such disasters lead to starvation and death. No one should be surprised, therefore, if peasant fishermen are reluctant to give up established and thoroughly tested practices in favour of untried innovations. This is especially so when the new practices are presented by people who would probably starve on the beach if they tried to make a living out of fishing, fish handling or fish marketing.
Arguments against new practices range from, 'that is not our way', through, 'maybe that does work elsewhere but it won't work here', to, 'the spirits would not approve of that'. At the root of the speaker's objections lies the knowledge that his own operations are on such a tiny scale and offer such low margins of profit that he cannot afford to experiment. He dare not take any unnecessary chances with his all too fragile means of livelihood. So changes come slowly and, at each stage, the profitability must be adequately proved and demonstrated before a new practice can become acceptable. There is seldom any problem in introducing changes which can be shown to be profitable or to make life easier. The introduction of synthetic materials for net and line manufacture and of internal combustion engines to drive fishing craft are obvious examples. So is the use of ice to preserve the catch although it is often much more difficult to effect improvements in product quality. Such improvements almost invariably raise the price of the product as, of course, does icing and most consumers in developing countries are unable to pay a premium price for better quality, much as they may prefer a better product.
Problems of relocation
If we define rural development as the improvement of the living standards of the people living in rural areas, we need to look far beyond the concepts of fisheries development which are usually uppermost in the minds of fisheries department administrators. Typically the eight or nine million artisanal fishermen of the tropics live in small groups in ramshackle housing, totally lacking the amenities of modern life such as piped water, electricity, effective sanitation, education, and perinatal, medical and dental care. Often villages are isolated by poor roads; some can be reached from outside only by water; some are seasonally inaccessible. So development requires attention to all these factors, as much as to the improvement of fishing boats, fishing gear, berthing or beaching facilities, and handling, processing, preservation and marketing methods.
One simple way to overcome many of the difficulties would seem at first sight to be to uproot entire villages and move them to new locations where the facilities, previously lacking, either exist or can readily be provided. This is seldom an acceptable solution. Many of the people involved are fishermen/farmers who own housing and land (Lawson, 1972). The land which provides much of the villages' subsistence could not easily be provided elsewhere. There are religious objections, too, based on such factors as the desire to be near ancestral graves; these and similar factors render the people immobile. Most Governments are already battling against the ill-effects of the city ward drift of the peasantry and would wish to do nothing which might increase or accelerate this.
However, the main reason for deciding against relocation of whole villages lies in the factors which are responsible for their development on the existing sites. The most obvious of these is proximity to the fishing grounds which include estuaries, mud flats, shallow banks, lagoons, mangrove swamps and coral reefs. Such grounds can be fished most profitably from small vessels of shallow draught and, in producing fish from such areas, the artisanal fisheries can make useful contributions to the economy (Cole, 1973). Long runs to and from the grounds reduce fishing time, and thus profitability, and, of course, increase the time the fishermen are at risk in times of bad weather.
Research and development
The fish landed in these villages often include both low bulk, high value items, such as prawns and crawfish, on which export industries may be based, and bulky low value items, such as mussels, cockles and clams, which provide cheap food of high quality. These artisanal fisheries also provide much employment using low levels of capital inputs; such important national assets should be developed so that the fisheries continue productive while the people involved enjoy at least some of the amenities of life which many take for granted. This usually requires that improvements are made in both the working and living conditions. While some of the improvements may be paid for by the injection of capital from outside, in the long run the improvements, or at least the maintenance of these, must be paid for by increasing the profitability of the fishing and fish marketing operations, thus increasing the real income of those engaged in the fisheries. James (1977) elaborates these points.
The development of the industrial elements of an artisanal fishery requires, as does the development of any other fishery, that all sectors of the industrial operations should be considered for improvement. Thus, a proposal to fish further to seaward or to use bigger nets may generate a need for bigger boats of deeper draught, which in turn need deeper water and mooring, more fuel and ice, and which demand a higher degree of skill in the crew. The heavier catches expected will require more, or possibly different, processing facilities, bigger or more markets, more transport and better roads and possibly the development of an export market with the attendant necessity to meet foreign standards of hygiene, packaging and product quality. Thus expertise in a number of very different specialisations might be needed, and there will be a need for research and development (R&D) in many of these specialisations.
R & D is, of course, totally wasted unless the results are applied and, in the case of the artisanal fisheries, the results must be applied by people who suspect that all change is not necessarily for the better. Like any other people, they are likely to accept advice most readily from someone they trust as having their best interests at heart. R & D must, therefore, logically be followed by extension work (E) and, particularly in the artisanal fisheries context, it makes better sense to talk of R, D & E rather than R & D alone. It should certainly not be assumed that extension can stand alone either, for there are few cases where unmodified technology transplants successfully from temperate to tropical conditions.
Thus, the development of an artisanal fishery in most circumstances requires a modest amount of applied research and a great deal of hard work at the basic village level by officials (or non-officials) who have received adequate technical training, understand the intricacies of the technical and socio-economic aspects of the industry and are trusted and respected by the people who run the industry. This should be an extension service. During visits to eighteen developing countries in 1974/75 (in South East Asia, South America and Africa), no single fisheries extension service was found which was thought to be even reasonably effective. So perhaps it may be worthwhile to examine the concept of a fisheries extension service in somewhat greater detail.
Organisation and administration of extension services
Wherever possible the extension service should be organised at the national or federal level rather than at the state or other subsidiary level. Of course, much good extension work is done by universities, regional laboratories and similar organisations. This is particularly so in the developed countries where the fishing industry is at an advanced level and where high level expertise is needed. In these situations, the industry solves the simpler problems for itself. Those working in the industry are educated to secondary school or higher levels and, if they cannot resolve a problem themselves, they can contact a laboratory or other organisation and explain their needs. The illiterate or semi-literate peasant fisherman cannot do this and needs a very different kind of service. He needs someone close at hand who can satisfy his simpler needs and can translate the more complex needs into terms easily understood by the more expert. Simple problems can often exist undetected for years, simply because there is inadequate contact between the fishermen and those paid to serve them. Sometimes there appears to be no contact at all between Government and the fishermen, other than the minimum required for the collection of taxes and statistics.
This essential contact between Government and industry requires the employment of rather large numbers of people at the village level and the basic principle of the fisheries extension service is the employment of workers who live among the fishermen. Such people must inevitably be trained as generalists rather than as specialists. This means that their skill and knowledge in any particular subject will be limited and will, indeed, often be rather basic. They should be trained so that they can identify the need for a particular kind of expert assistance and know where this can be found. Thus, the service as a whole should be able to draw on the expertise and experience of various branches of the fisheries department, other government departments, research and experimental stations, universities, and the fisheries training institutes and schools. Co-operation from these organisations would best be assured by central controls.
Where the fisheries department is responsible for fisheries development, it follows that the fisheries extension service should be a branch of the fisheries department. Other arrangements are, of course, possible but this is the one that usually seems to work best. Among other things, this permits financing of the service from the national treasury. It also provides for one of the essential requirements of the extension service, i.e., that those employed should work on a full-time basis. It also helps to provide a career structure offering the possibility of promotion within the extension service or into other branches of fisheries work. If the service is organised on a very small scale, it can provide few posts above the basic level and a further problem is that it cannot provide adequately for specialist posts for technologists above this level. The very smallest countries, of course, can afford to employ only one man as a fisheries extension worker and must seek from outside the expertise which he is unable to provide.
A further reason for suggesting that the extension service provided by universities and similar bodies in the developed countries would prove unsatisfactory in the developing world, is the need for assistance with the socio-economic factors which control living, rather than working, conditions in the artisanal fisheries of the developing country.
A senior member of the fisheries department should be in charge of the extension service and it is preferable that he should have no other duties. In addition to employing approximately one worker for every 500 fishing families, the service should employ people in a supervisory grade at a ratio of roughly one to every five field workers; in very large countries, it may be necessary to employ people who control the supervisors at a similar ratio. Whether it will be necessary for the service itself to employ specialists or not depends largely on the size of the country and the way in which the fisheries department is organised. Where the extension service is large, it is obviously best to employ specialists who are trained in their own technology but have also been taught how to operate as extension workers. Where the service is smaller, it is certainly not essential that specialists should be employed; the specialists employed in other branches of the fisheries department can be trained for extension work and be required to perform extension duties as part of their normal functions.
Terms and conditions for the extension workers
The terms and conditions of service for the extension workers should be made as attractive as possible. It is extremely important that extension workers should be able to travel freely and quickly through the district in which they are required to work. In some cases, it may be possible for them to do this on a pedal bicycle but this is an energy-sapping and time-consuming means of transport. It is usually better to provide extension workers with motor bicycles; these are more useful than motor cars or other forms of four-wheeled transport in the isolated village conditions in which they are working. They should be taught to ride, service and maintain these.
All that has so far been said about the workers applies with equal force to their wives and families. It is important for the service to keep the wives and families happy in their isolation and arrangements should be made so that, as far as possible, they can enjoy the facilities available to the wives and families of workers at equivalent levels in the towns. Where this is impossible, an allowance should be paid.
One of the tenets which is often quoted by people discussing the organisation of an extension service for agriculture, fisheries or allied industries is that the extension worker should not be burdened with any duties other than those normal to an extension service (Maunder, 1972). As far as is possible, it is certainly desirable that the extension worker should be able to concentrate full-time on his extension duties. The fisheries extension worker must be seen by the fisheries community as their friend: someone who is on their side, rather than a member of a revenue-collecting government department. Most fisheries departments have some responsibility for collecting revenue in the form of licence fees for fishing boats, fishing gear or both; because the officers who work in this department are seen as part of the government, they are often suspected of being in league with the collectors of income and other taxes as well. This is another powerful reason for saying that fisheries extension workers should be used solely as extension specialists wherever this is possible.
It must be recognised, however, that, in some countries, it is impossible to employ specialists for extension work because the country simply cannot afford this. In these circumstances, the fisheries assistants who have other duties, such as the collection of fisheries statistics, may also have to do the extension work. It is, however, best if licensing duties are not undertaken by these people. It is always possible to arrange for a team from regional or national headquarters to undertake licensing duties so that the extension worker is seen by the fishermen as being part of a different organisation.
Responsibilities of the extension branch
While the head of the fisheries department will obviously be responsible to the government for the control of the department's expenditure, the head of the fisheries extension branch should be responsible for the preparation of an annual budget for extension work and should control it. This should include capital expenditure for major items which the extension branch needs for its work, annual salaries for the staff, and recurrent expenditure for purchase of minor items, travel and similar matters. This should enable the extension branch to plan its work rather more than one year ahead; indeed the branch should normally be planning the work that it will be undertaking during the next two or three years. Similarly, the extension branch should be responsible to the head of the fisheries service for the recruitment of extension workers and for their training. The branch should not be responsible for the recruitment of specialist technologists; generally, it is better if these are recruited by the fisheries service. The extension branch should, of course, be responsible for training specialists in extension work and for the preparation of extension material.
Very few fisheries departments have arranged to give regular broadcasts to fishermen; these have generally been extremely well received and have proved very useful in circumstances where there is a considerable variation in fish prices either seasonally or from one part of a country to another. A very limited number of training manuals suitable for artisanal fisheries is at present available. For some of the simpler technologies, it should surely be possible to prepare suitable manuals in one of the major languages of the world which could be translated into local languages wherever they are needed. There are, of course, some difficulties in this; even the illustrations which would be needed are not necessarily universally applicable.
Finally the extension branch should be responsible for regular reports to the head of the service indicating the progress that has been made. More important, it should perhaps be responsible for preparing an annual assessment of the effectiveness of the various aspects of the work of the extension service.
The head of the extension branch must obviously be responsible to the head of the fisheries service for the planning of future work as well as for the execution of the current programme. Equally obviously, any programme which is developed should comply with the objectives of the national development plan where one exists. However, while the head of the branch has this responsibility, he and his headquarters colleagues should not attempt to produce a master plan without consulting right down to the working level. The successful extension worker will be a self-reliant, intelligent individual who is in close contact with the people he serves. Together, they inevitably have a much clearer idea, not only of what is needed but also of what is practicable, than the headquarters staff. Planning should stars 'from the bottom up'.
In consultation with the members of the community he serves, the extension worker should plan a programme of work at least one year in advance; where problems which will obviously need a long-term solution exist, the programme may well look two or three years ahead. The programme should include possible means of solving the problem and must be agreed with the worker's superiors. They may be able to suggest alternative solutions and must, in any case, be aware of the budget that will be needed to see the plans through and of the calls that may be made on other staff, such as specialists. The plan should include the problems which most urgently require solution but, within these, there should be a list of priorities and the worker must, of course, also be prepared to tackle unforeseen problems on an ad hoc basis whenever these arise.
Work of the field staff
The work of the extension staff in an artisanal fishery is very different from the work pattern followed by the members of a university staff who undertake extension work. The university worker normally lives in a community apart from that in which the fishermen live and he is almost invariably a specialist. The extension worker in the artisanal fishery, on the other hand, is a generalist and he lives right among the people with whom he works so that he can develop an understanding of the pattern of life in the fishing community. He must learn how local conditions affect the way in which fish are caught or cultured, the way in which they are processed and marketed, and how these operations are financed. He also needs to know how profits and earnings are used. Thus, the first task of any extension worker newly appointed to a particular district must be to prepare an inventory of the capital equipment available, including the human resources, and the ways in which these are employed (Yaseuda, 1972).
In preparing his inventory, the extension worker should note any obvious deficiencies in the infrastructure (such as lack of berthing facilities, communications, transport and marketing facilities) as well as noting what particular skills are present or absent in the community. He will succeed in his job only when he gains the confidence of the community in which he is working and must, therefore, be on the look-out for obvious deficiencies which can be quickly and easily remedied. Examples might include: the placing of leading marks or lights in the approach to the landing point; the marking of a known hazard to navigation; improving the supply of engine spares, fuel, bait, salt or ice; making dental, medical and perinatal facilities available on a regular basis; improving marketing or storage facilities. If he does find that something simple is obviously lacking, he should not proceed to make good this deficiency without consulting the community first; many communities have a pet project of their own. If the extension worker can discover what this is and, if it is something which is practicable, then he should go ahead with this rather than attempting to introduce a project of his own. His own projects are likely to be equally important, or more important, than the ones that the community prefer but it is also important that the community should recognise early on that the extension service is intended to help them, not to indulge its own 'fancy' ideas (Cole, 1975).
Identification and handling of problems
As soon as the extension worker has obtained a good working knowledge of the pattern of life in the communities for which he is responsible, has established good working relationships with the members of the communities, and has set out his inventory, he should identify the most important and urgent problems in consultation with the communities and should work on these. He must, of course, prepare a work plan and discuss this with his superiors. He should meet his immediate superior at least once a month, report on the previous month's work and outline his plans for the coming month. In some cases he may be able to find solutions to local problems himself. In other cases, he will need to seek the help of colleagues or workers from other departments. Sometimes no-one in the government will be able to help and he must go to a commercial company for assistance. However, it is important that problems should be reported up through the service because sometimes the answer to a particular difficulty will already be available, a solution having been found in another part of the country or elsewhere. Sometimes no answer is readily available and research is needed to provide a solution.
The extension worker can, thus, be an important link between the research stations and the fishing communities. This is one of the many reasons for saying that research stations carrying out fisheries work should be under the direct control of the officer in charge of the fisheries service. It then becomes possible for the extension branch to ensure that the work which they know is needed is given proper weight in the programme of work of the research stations. The immediate superiors of the fieldworker should require that he provides regular reports, which can conveniently be submitted verbally, as well as in writing, at a monthly meeting. The reports should note progress achieved, new problems that have arisen and any other matters of interest in the area in the worker's charge. There will be failures as well as successes and the reasons for both must be assessed and analysed; the service as a whole should adopt a very flexible outlook and be prepared to modify and change its plans as this becomes desirable.
A list of national objectives is, of course, a useful guide to the individual worker; a number of districts can often work on the same aspect at one time. The provision of literature is then a simple matter and the districts can be backed up with radio or television programmes.
An extension programme is essentially an educational programme; the extension worker has to create situations in which others can learn and be stimulated to learn through the teaching systems (Bradfield, 1966). Since no two people have precisely the same physical or mental ability, some will learn faster than others; some will learn most easliy by listening, others by seeing, doing or by discussion. Some people will need all four processes, so the extension worker must be prepared to vary his approach and to use a variety of methods.
Suitable methods fall into three broad groups: those used with individuals, those used with groups and mass methods. Contacts with individuals may include home visits, office calls, casual contacts and personal letters. Home visits can be particularly useful since they provide opportunities for discussion of private problems which may not take place in other circumstances; they also give the extension worker an opportunity to meet the families as well as the fishermen to learn about family problems. Particular care is needed in writing letters to give advice. These should be as simple and to the point as possible and all letters must be readily understandable. Whenever possible, a suitably illustrated fact sheet or pamphlet should be sent rather than a long personal letter. Even where there is no regular postal service, it is often possible to send letters by hand through delivery men or, for instance, through fish buyers.
Once an extension worker becomes known in his district, he can expect to do much useful work by means of casual contacts made in such places as fish markets, gear supply shops and boat yards or even by visiting fishing villages. Fishermen who do not come to his office or who cannot write will contact him informally in this way and he should treat these approaches just as seriously as the more formal ones.
Proper detailed records should be kept of all individual contacts; reference to these records would tell the extension worker, or his successors, all that they need to know about a particular fisherman, his way of life, his methods and problems, what has already been done to help him and the results. It is vitally important that any promises made during these contacts are kept. If an extension worker promises to send written advice, to make a contact on someone else's behalf or obtain advice for him, he must carry out his promise. Every extension worker should keep a detailed daily diary in which he records all contacts and promises made besides his other activities. The diary is an official document and should be kept in such a form that it will be useful, and available, to his superiors and his successors.
Chambers (1974) suggests that agricultural extension workers should issue notebooks to the farmers in their district in which they record notes of their visits. This has the two-fold advantage of enabling superiors to check on the number of visits made to individual farmers and of providing a form in which any advice given can be left with the farmer. As far as is known, no fisheries extension service has ever done this but there are obviously some situations in which it might be useful. It might not be necessary to issue notebooks to individuals: these might be left with village headmen and then serve just as useful a purpose as if issued to individuals.
Group methods generally require even more careful planning than individual contacts. They may include meetings on a village or larger scale, demonstrations of methods or results, visits to other villages or fish landings and participation in shows. Group meetings are particularly useful in developing countries. They should be treated as opportunities for discussion rather than as lectures; the people, more particularly the leaders, should be fully involved and encouraged to take active roles.
Fishermen are accustomed to learning by 'method demonstrations' since this is the way in which fathers teach their sons to fish. Subjects which would best be taught in this way include net making and hanging, net repair, new methods or variations in old methods of handling, processing and preservation (such as salting, smoking, drying and icing fish), manufacture of fish boxes and smoking kilns - all the usual practical skills.
'Result demonstrations' differ only in that they go a step further and show what happens as a result of varying or carrying out a particular process, for instance: that by hanging a net to the correct length you catch more fish; that properly iced fish keep longer than poorly iced fish; that well made smoked fish look and taste better and keep longer than poorly made smoked fish: that by doing it the new way, you can show a bigger profit for your labours. The essence is to compare two or more procedures.
Visits should be made when some parts of the country are carrying out advanced techniques which are not used in other parts. They are then especially useful as the visitors can imagine for themselves what conditions were like before the changes were made, and can see the advantages of making the changes. It would obviously be very difficult to reach all members of the fishing communities; when new laws are enacted, fish prices changed or new methods prove outstandingly successful, then the mass media and other mass methods should be used. Newspapers, magazines and television cannot be used to reach all developing country fishermen; methods which can be used include radio (fishermen often sit mending their nets beside transistor radios), posters and handouts. Such material should be prepared for the extension service as a whole rather than by the individual extension worker.
As with any other educational programme, in an extension service programme it is necessary to check the progress being made and to evaluate results. This is more difficult with extension programmes than with any others because the students and teachers meet at undefined times in a variety of different places. Nonetheless an attempt must be made, otherwise no one will know whether the service is succeeding in its objectives or not. In most countries it would be difficult, if not impossible, to attempt to use even moderately sophisticated methods of evaluation such as systematic formal enquiries by teams of trained research workers; much simpler methods are needed, particularly when dealing with illiterate or semi-literate people.
Effective checks on progress are made by requiring extension workers to submit regular reports in which they detail what they have done, where they have been and what they think the results have been, not only for the current period of work but also of work done in the past. Such reports are best presented verbally with accompanying notes at a regular meeting with the individual extension worker's immediate superiors. Every extension worker should of course have a clear planned programme showing exactly what he is going to do during the year and, in particular, what points he is trying to convey to fishermen or their families. This gives the individual workers confidence and makes it easier to check on the effectiveness of their programme. The extension programme is really aiming to change the attitudes of people in the fishing villages; even in the best circumstances, it is difficult to make anything other than a purely subjective evaluation of this.
Liaison between government departments and with other bodies
Advice about the technologies involved in fishing and fish handling will almost invariably be available within the fisheries department. However, not all fisheries departments are able to advise on matters such as boat construction and, in most countries, there are specialised departments which deal with the marketing of agricultural and fisheries products and with the formation and operation of cooperative societies. Many of the projects with which an extension worker will be involved require that capital is provided from outside the immediate area in which he is working, often by the national government. Sometimes the running costs for some of his projects will be provided in the same way. Often fishermen or their families need advice on the care of their animals, the growing of their crops, fruit, coconut trees, or vegetables. Where major public works such as roads or bridges are required, then the public works department or its equivalent will be involved. In medical matters, workers at the Ministry of Health will be involved.
Clearly the people needed, some of them fairly senior in government service, will not 'come-a-running' when the extension worker, who is comparatively junior, whistles. Indeed, officers of other departments often show a marked reluctance to appear in fishing villages at all. When they do appear, their visit is often so brief that the dust raised by their arrival still hangs in the air as they make their departure. It is necessary to evolve a method of working which will ensure that the fisheries extension worker is able to obtain the advice and assistance he needs from other departments and to integrate the efforts being made by the various government departments to develop a particular area.
Management of rural development
In recent years, a variety of different methods of providing for the integration of development have been tried in different parts of the world. Chambers (1974) provides a very valuable review of the management of rural development based on ideas and experience obtained in East Africa. The methodology recommended by Chambers is based on what he calls the programming and implementation management (PIM) system which was developed in Kenya from 1971 onwards. According to Chambers the PIM system has three main components:
A programming exercise, (which was annual and held just before or just after the beginning of the financial year). This is a meeting attended by all those directly concerned with implementation at which they jointly and freely draw up a phased work programme for the year.
A management meeting, (which was usually monthly). At this meeting attended by those concerned directly with implementation, progress is reviewed against the phased work programme, bottle necks are identified and remedial action agreed upon.
An action report, (which was described as a monthly management report), summarising briefly the progress made and problems encountered, naming those responsible for action. It is sent quickly and simultaneously to those concerned at different levels in Government.
Anyone concerned with rural development would find Chambers exposition of great value. In some situations, it is possible to hold regular meetings attended by all departments involved in rural development. However, the group meeting must be small or it degenerates from a 'workshop' to a 'talk shop'.
A somewhat similar system was evolved in Malaysia in the 1950s and 1960s, which suggests that a system of this kind can be made to work under widely differing conditions. Like everyone else who has been involved in the development process, Chambers is insistent that the people who are being helped should be intimately involved at every stage of the process and that their thoughts and ideas should be incorporated in any programme which is developed. Development must come from the bottom up not from the top down.
Training for extension workers
In Europe and North America, the people who carry out extension work in the field are often university graduates. Such people are seldom broadly trained generalists; most usually they are specialists and, in some cases, so highly specialised that they may be responsible, for example, for quality control aspects of fish processing rather than working in fish handling generally. These people could, of course, be very useful in the development of an artisanal fishery; unfortunately, they are far too expensive to be employed in these situations. In the developing world, the fisheries extension worker should be a well-trained generalist technician who has a good understanding of a number of different technologies including boat-building and maintenance, fishing gear maintenance and fish handling, processing and marketing, among other subjects. In most territories which were formerly under British control, three levels of grading in the government service are recognised: the more senior posts being filled by university graduates, the middle level posts by diploma holders who have attended a three-year course of instruction following secondary school and the more junior posts by certificate holders who have attended a two-year course of instruction following secondary school. Cole and Hall (1973) discuss job specifications and standards of proficiency in considerable detail. The fisheries extension worker would normally be a certificate holder, his immediate superior would have a diploma while the more senior officers in a fisheries department are usually graduates.
Cole and Hail (1973) set out in their curriculum No. 39 'Fisheries Assistants' the training syllabus used for fisheries assistants in Uganda. The course was designed for people who would be working in freshwater fisheries and needs modification for people working in marine fisheries in other parts of the world. In addition to the basic science, mathematics and technology set out in this course, a student who is to work as a fisheries extension officer needs training in the principles of adult education and mass communication, and the management and operation of fisheries co-operative societies. Cole (1975a) suggests a curriculum for use in Nigeria for training extension workers during a two-year certificate course; unlike the Uganda course, this one is not yet in operation.
Any course of this type needs to include subjects such as basic sciences and mathematics, statistics, fisheries co-operative societies, principles of adult education and mass communication, ecology, fisheries biology and aquatic sciences, handling, preservation, processing and marketing, fisheries management, fish culture, fishing gear technology, navigation and seamanship. It is also very important that students should be taught to write clearly and concisely; they should be given plenty of practice in this and in taking part in and controlling meetings, delivering lectures and carrying out demonstrations. In general, the aim should be to arrange the course so that at least half the student's time is spent in practical work.
In some countries, students are selected for a three-year diploma course rather than for a two-year certificate course at the time they leave school. Since this frequently results in the training of people who then prove unsuitable for the type of work they are expected to do, it seems to be much more sensible to arrange that new recruits to the fisheries department work for at least several months in the field before they undergo any training at all. They should then attend a two-year certificate course before returning to the field; only those who have passed the two-year course satisfactorily and have then proved themselves useful in the field should be selected for a third year of training leading to a diploma and, in most cases, to immediate promotion. No one should fill, or attempt to fill, a supervisory role in a fisheries extension service unless he has himself worked at the most basic field level.
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