Cover Image
close this bookSmall-Scale Marine Fisheries - A Training Manual (Peace Corps, 1983, 631 p.)
close this folderWeek 7: Training
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentSession T-86: Introduction to fisheries economics and marketing
View the documentSession T-87: ''Gyotaku'' fish art special project
View the documentSession T-88: Fund raising - special group project
View the documentSession T-89: Economic data sheets
View the documentSession T-90: Transportation systems - special project
View the documentSession T-91: Fish cooperatives special group project
View the documentSession T-92: Simple accounting techniques
View the documentSession T-93: Reef survey preparation
View the documentSession T-94: Artificial reefs and floating tire breakwaters - special project
View the documentSession T-95: Resources/proposal writing
View the documentSession T-96: Reef survey
View the documentSession T-97: Interviews
View the documentSession T-98: Fish issues - special group project
View the documentSession T-99: Ecology and conservation - special group project
View the documentSession T-100: Report writing

Session T-99: Ecology and conservation - special group project

Time: 2:30 PM


· To look at ecology and conservation issues that marine fisheries extensionists may encounter in their work

· To look at various approaches and methods that a marine fisheries extensionist can use to raise the consciousness of the community around ecology and conservation issues

· To look at specific approaches and methods for different audiences, i.e., a women's group, school children, fishermen's cooperative, etc.

· For the trainee assigned the special project to build on leadership, communication and technology transfer skills


There are many problems associated with good ecology and conservation practices in developing countries which trainees need to be aware of: many ecology issues are complex and abstract; good practices may conflict with the livelihood of local fishermen; ecology and conservation problems are often "invisible"; and the government may be indifferent. In this session, these issues and problems are discussed, and trainees look at ways ecology issues could be presented to a community. Trainers also have an opportunity to talk about their own experiences in developing countries, and to point out that until the basic needs of third world people are met, good ecology and conservation practices have little chance of succeeding.


· flip chart, markers




15 Minutes

1. Trainee assigned the group project asks trainees to define ecology and conservation. Trainee then gives a mini-lecture on current areas of concern: marine fisheries ecology and conservation-related issues. The difficulties in introducing good environmental practices are also presented to the group.

1 Hour

2. Trainees assisting the group project leader give three presentations: each presentation is directed at a different "audience", i.e. women, trap fishermen, school children; and a different ecology issue is the topic of the presentation. After each presentation, the group project leader processes the points made and the approach used, and gives trainees a list of suggestings for working with that particular "audience."

5 Minutes

3. Trainee group leader draws closure to session, linking back to previous sessions on extension, WID and community analysis.

Trainer's Note:

The training program may or may not have access to country-specific ecology and conservation issues. It's important to keep in mind that the major learnings of this session are not the issues, but rather the approaches used in presenting these issues to particular audiences.

Sample report developed during pilot program follows:

TEACHING ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION Papua New Guinea * Sierra Leone * Tonga


1. What is ecology?

Ecology is the study of the intraspecific and interspecific interactions of organisms in and with their environment and the interactions of environmental elements with each other. Ecological problems are generally problems of imbalance.

2. What is conservation?

Conservation is the preservation, management and/or wise use of resources. Conservation involves careful planning. Conservation problems are generally problems of exploitation.

3. What areas of concern may be confronted in marine fisheries work?

Overfishing of particular species (i.e. lobster in Puerto Real, bonga in Sierra Leone) and/or areas (i.e. within the barrier reef in Tonga). Destruction of habitat - pollution of harbors and estuaries by silt, sewage and agricultural run-off. Destruction of reefs by suffocation (silt), lysis (fresh water) and extraction for use as building material. Conflict of usage (i.e. fish productivity vs fuel consumption in mangrove estuary). Deforestation (silting, erosion). Introduction of exotic species which results in imbalance. Introduction of environmental policy/management concepts.

4. What are some problems of introducing ecology and conservation in a developing nation?

Ecological concepts are complex and abstract and may be difficult to comprehend for individuals with limited educational backgrounds. Ecologically sound conservation practices may conflict with the livelihoods of some fishermen. Ecology and conservation occupy advanced positions in the hierarchy of needs and will be of little concern to individuals who have not met their safety needs. The results of ecologically sound conservation practices are generally delayed, taking long periods of time to become apparent. The symptoms of environmental problems may be subtle. Why deal with an "invisible" problem? The government may be indifferent to problems of ecology and conservation. The source of an ecological or conservation problem may be external to a village or its resources (i.e. Japanese tuna fishing vessel). Greed runs rampant and international law is difficult to enforce.


1. The extensionist meets a group of village women while fetching water at the well. She discovers that their husbands, the local fishermen, are having difficulty catching bonga, a popular variety of fish, but are catching large quantities of trigger fish, a variety which, at present, is not marketable. She explains that if they can develop a market for trigger fish (by filleting it or preparing it in a desirable manner) and sell all the trigger fish that their husbands catch, they can make more money and leave more "room" in the water for bonga.

Suggestions for working with women:

a. Tie concepts into their daily lives and activities: family, making money, etc.

b. Remember high illiteracy rates and low levels of formal schooling.

c. Keep in mind demands on time.

d. Utilize pre-existing groups or gathering spots.

e. Elicit responses and ideas.

2. The extensionist meets informally with a group of trap fishermen who are having difficulty catching lobsters because divers from a neighboring village are exploiting the lobster population. She explains that it is important to release female lobsters with eggs and young lobsters if there are to be lobsters when their children are grown. She then facilitates the fishermen's decision to meet with the divers and to share the importance of this practice with them.

Suggestions for working with fishermen:

a. Organize fishermen - either informally or formally.
b. Keep topics simple and relative to fisherman's daily life.
c. Discuss benefits and drawbacks of techniques or topics to be discussed
d. Discuss monetary gains and losses
e. Relate effects to family, both immediate and future generations.
f. Assess time spent- both long term and short term.
g. Review existing legislation and discuss possible legislation which may affect fishermen and fishing.

3. The extensionist is invited to talk with a group of school children. Upon arrival, she distributes tags which bear the names of the sun, man and several organisms which live in a mangrove swamp to the children. She then shares with them the two types of webs found in a mangrove swamp: spiders' webs and food webs. To show how the food web is weakened when some of its components are eliminated, she has the children construct a "food web" using string to connect related "organisms" and then has some of the "organisms" drop their strings. To show the flow of energy through the food web, the extensionist has the children play a special variety of tag in which "organisms" tag what they eat and are tagged by what eats them. (energy is individually wrapped candies or peanuts. Plants get their energy from the sun. If an "organism" is tagged, he gives one piece of "energy" to his tagger and one to "used up energy.") Finally, she facilitates analysis of the distribution of energy by the children.

Suggestion for working with children:

a. Limit your presentation or program to just a few key ideas, and keep those ideas simple.

b. Use examples which are part of the childrens day-to-day experiences.

c. Use questioning strategies to help children formulate the desired information themselves.

d. Remember that children have short attention spans and that it is best for them to learn actively (have fun!).

e. If active learning is to take place, an informal setting is usually best. Environment is important!

f. Be aware that many of the children may have basic needs which have not been met. It is difficult to learn when you are hungry!

g. Use the children's names often.

h. Do not underestimate the importance of working with children; they are tomorrow's decision-makers.

Addendum 1. Food Web Game - Components of mangrove food web and what takes their energy: