Teaching to Fish or Learning Not to Finish? - Reinventing a Responsible Marine Fisheries Extension System in India Public Deposited

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  • The marine fisheries sector in India is currently going through a phase of socio-economic cum ecological turbulence. The rate of growth in marine fisheries production, as evidenced by recent studies, is plateauing, if not, declining. The need for initiating management options that promote sustainable resource utilization and stable livelihood security to the coastal community through well-planned and massive efforts in making the fisher folk imbibe the message of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (FAO CCRF) through Extension initiatives is never felt so urgent as of now. Extension science is construed as the discipline that raises strategic questions and finds ways in bridging the research system and the client system. But unlike the farming sector, the extension system in the case of marine fisheries sector is confronted with a number of epistemological and methodological problems. Based on the experiences and insights gathered during the implementation of a WB funded research project titled “Designing and Validation of Communication strategies for responsible fisheries – A Co-learning approach” at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute(CMFRI) during 2001-04, this paper argues that the Transfer of Technology -based extension paradigm dominant in the country is insufficient to infuse an ethos of responsible fisheries among the stakeholders and therefore it is necessary to reinvent a new extension system, probably built on the logic of constructivism rather than positivism. The potential of the rich research database on the resource base, along with Fisheries Indigenous Knowledge system needs to be effectively utilized. A Responsible Fisheries Extension Module (RFEM), first of its kind in the country, consisting of a number of well-validated communication tools which includes the translation of the FAO CCRF into Malayalam, animation films etc., developed under the project through participatory co-learning methodology is a stepping stone in this direction. A theoretical model of a new extension approach is also proposed after diagnosing various parameters in the current extension system like information flow, strategic gaps in the research-extension interface vis a vis an ideal system and constraints (logical, epistemological and institutional).
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  • Nair, Ramchandran C. 2006. Teaching to Fish or Learning Not to Finish? - Reinventing a Responsible Marine Fisheries Extension System in India. In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 11-14, 2006, Portsmouth, UK: Rebuilding Fisheries in an Uncertain Environment. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2006. CD ROM. ISBN 0-9763432-3-1
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