Category Archives: Education & Training

“National Assessment Sheds Light on Educational Needs for Aquaculture in the United States” (Jensen et al 2016)

Citation: Jensen, G., Schwarz, M., Shumway, S., Trushenski, J., Curry Woods, L., Broyles, T., and Mayeaux, M. (2016). “National Assessment Sheds Light on Educational Needs for Aquaculture in the United States”. Fisheries, 41(8), pp. 467-469, DOI: 10.1080/03632415.2016.1199830.

Summary By: Alexandra Pounds

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  • Big Picture: Although demand for highly educated aquaculture workers in the US is increasing and student interest in higher education aquaculture programs is stable, higher education institutions are having trouble recruiting students and are not increasing the number of available programmes.
  • Aquaculture higher education in the US began in the 1970’s in response to the rise in aquaculture. Despite that the industry is growing, high education opportunities are decreasing, with programs shutting down. This study looked at the current aquaculture workforce and examined whether students were interested in pursuing a career in aquaculture to forecast the aquaculture workforce.
  • Methods: conducted a national survey to compile a list of aquaculture high education in the US.
  • Results:
    • 79 respondents,
      • 14 did not offer any courses related to aquaculture (others offered a combination of AA, BSc, MSc, PhD, and/or certificate)
      • 10 of which offered online aquaculture courses
    • Enrolment:
      • Enrolment increased from 2000-2010. Enrolment from 2010 – 2015 was stable.
      • Fewer international students are entering BSc programs. International and national PhD enrolments were equal.
      • Institutions reported challenges with recruiting students for aquaculture.
    • Course offerings:
      • A considerable number of institutions offer programs in aquaculture, many of which are smaller institutions. There have been no new programmes initiated since 2010.
      • Student interest in pursuing a degree in aquaculture seems stable.
      • Online course offerings are growing.
    • Respondents believe that there is a growing demand for employees with advance training in aquaculture.
    • Over the past 10-15 years, job listings in US aquaculture have decreased (especially in academia and government)
  • Implications:
    • The US may not have enough higher education programmes to supply the projected workforce requirements for US aquaculture.
    • The US aquaculture industry growth rate might be held back by the lack of a competent workforce (not enough educated workers).



“Strengthening the contribution of aquaculture to food and nutrition security: The potential of a vitamin A-rich, small fish in Bangladesh” (Fiedler et al 2016)

Citation: Fiedler, J., Lividini, K., Drummond, E., and Thilsted, S. (2016). “Strengthening the contribution of aquaculture to food and nutrition security: The potential of a vitamin A-rich, small fish in Bangladesh” Aquaculture, 452, pp. 291-303. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2015.11.004

Summary By: Alexandra Pounds

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Big Picture: The Mola Production Programme is the most cost-efficient way to address vitamin A deficiencies in Bangladesh.
  • Many small-scale farmers in Bangladesh culture fish, for both commercial and sustenance. Polyculture of rice and fish is an important part of food security in Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshis have small ponds available for aquaculture.
  • It is estimated that 60% of Bangladeshis are vit A deficient, despite the oil and wheat flour fortification programmes.
  • Mola carplet contains more vit A than other commonly eaten fish species in Bangladesh. Producing more mola carplet could help solve the vit a deficiency. The Mola Production Programme is currently behind these efforts. The aim of this paper was to do a cost-benefit analysis of increasing mola carplet production in Bangladesh to help solve the chronic vit A deficiency.
  • Methods:
    • Used national health statistics to establish the usual vit A intake, prevalence of deficiency, and years lost to deficiency-caused disability.
    • They then added how much vit A the Mola Production Programme would provide over the next 11 years to estimate future levels of vit A intake, prevelance of deficiency, and years lost to deficiency-caused disability. They assumed that the Mola Production Programme would have a 30% adoption rate
    • The change in these numbers was compared to the total cost of the Mola Production Programme.
    • They used two different scenarios for comparison.
  • Results:
    • Over 11 years the program would cost $23 million and
      • raise vit A levels by 7 micrograms
      • lower prevelance of deficiency by 1.1%
      • This equates to 3000 lives saved, and prevent 100,000 years lost to deficiency-caused disability.
  • Implications:
    • If continued for 20 years, the Mola Production Programme would have lower costs and greater health benefits than the Vitamin A wheat flour fortification programme.
    • Other nutritional components can be improved through the programme indirectly, via increased income with mola production.

“Increasing fish farm profitability through aquaculture best management practice training in Egypt” (Dickson et al 2016)

Citation: Dickson, M., Nasr-Allah, A., Kenawy, D., and Kruijssen, F. “Increasing fish farm profitability through aquaculture best management practice training in Egypt”. Aquaculture, 465, pp. 172-178. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2016.09.015

Summary by: Alexandra Pounds

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Big Picture: Fish farms in Egypt that adopt BMP are more profitable than those that don’t. Having BMP can increase the farm’s profitability, mostly due to better feed management practices.
  • Egyptian aquaculture is growing, but farmers had little training or education resources. Best Management Practices (BMP) training programmes were introduced to help. This survey examined whether or not implementing the BMP had resulted in greater profits and productivity.
  • While BMP are usually precursors to many certifications, farmers may see them as a burden rather than a help.
  • Aquaculture represents 77% of Egyptian fish production (mostly tilapia and mullet)
    • 85% = pond-based
    • 15% = cages, rice fields, and intensive farms
  • Key messages from BMP training:
    • reduce overall stocking rates to harvest more fish at larger sizes
    • fertilize the pond to stimulate plankton growth (an additional food source for fish)
    • reduce feed waste and use high-quality feed
  • Methods:
    • Farms that had implemented BMP were compared with farms that had not implemented BMP.
    • Data from 3715 farms were used, 70% of which were considered “high adopters” of BMP
    • An online questionnaire was distributed, and some farmers were interviewed.
  • Results:
    • BMP farms were more likely to practice mullet & tilapia polyculture rather than tilapia monoculture.
    • BMP training resulted in increased profitability, but had no effect on productivity. Average annual net profits were $15,000 greater in BMP farms than non-BMP farms.
    • BMP mostly improved feed and fertilizer management, which improved FCRs. BMP farms used less feed.
    • Operating costs were lower in BMP Farms.
    • There was no difference in total sales between BMP and non-BMP farms
    • BMP did not make a difference to total yield; however, farms with BMPs had larger average fish sizes.
    • BMP farmers were younger and had smaller families than non-BMP farmers (although this was not statistically significant). Statistically, the BMP farmer and non-BMP farmer demographics had no differences.
  • Limitations
    • There may have been some selection bias, as farmer interviews were selected based on connection with certain BMP trainers.

“Promoting Sustainable Aquaculture” Seixas, Bostock, and Eleftheriou 2012

Citation: Seixas, S., Bostock, J., and Eleftheriou, M. “Promoting Sustainable Aquaculture.” Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, 23(4), 434-450. DOI: 10.1108/14777831211232245

Summary written by: Alexandra Pounds

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Big picture: The aquaculture industry sees a need for flexible lifelong learning in an array of subjects. As such, the aquaculture industry will rely increasingly on e-learning in addition to traditional learning. Employers require a way to accredit and understand what students learn in both e-learning and traditional course settings.
  • The aquaculture industry requires continued professional development (CPD). This will help the industry in 3 ways:
    1. increase the competition with the aquaculture sector;
    2. increase environmental awareness and sustainability by sharing production methods and improved policies (including certification schemes);
    3. ensuring a business-friendly environment.
  • CPD learners are different from enrolled student learners – they require higher levels of expertise and are active learners. Teachers cannot simply lecture these learners as they already have an extensive knowledge-based. Their learning should be interactive, engaging with the teacher and fellow students to share expertise.
  • The EU is supporting CDP with various projects:
    • AQUA-TNET: Network of university and research departments in aquaculture, fisheries, and aquatic resource management.
      • AQUA-TNET 1: Unite academic and vocational higher education through curriculum standardization, increased student/staff mobility, innovative teaching methods, and transparency for quality assurance.
      • AQUA-TNET 2: Enhance student/staff mobility, increase course offerings, increase access to learning, increase pedagogic methods, strengthen communication,
      • AQUA-TNET 3: Enhance lifelong learning opportunities through newsletters, tradeshows/conferences, etc. Increase generic skills training. Further increase student/staff mobility, collaboration.
    • WAVE project: Relate different countries’ qualification systems to a common standardized framework for transparent validation and accreditation. This project created the framework by evaluating competencies.
    • VALLA project: Developed the EFQ system to provide a way of accrediting and understanding vocational training courses outside traditional qualification systems (like universities).
    • PESCALEX project: a multilingual online resource to help non-experts diagnose and understand fish diseases. This resources is useful for educators, students, and beginners.
    • Aqualabs project: Providing training to new researchers in generic skills for researchers who wanted to pursue careers in both research and industry.
  • E-learning is increasingly important because aquaculture is often based in rural and remote areas. E-learning allows for: less interruption, classes with greater diversity, increased flexibility, increased modularization and specialities, and increased convenience.
  • There is no correlation between aquaculture production and education levels.
  • There is an indirect correlation between educational levels and labour productivity. For example, Asian productivity per person is 2.4 tonnes, whereas Europe productivity per person is 24 tonnes. This reflects economies, indirectly reflecting overall education levels.
  • The aquaculture sector requires diverse training in: biology, technology, business, chemistry, etc.
  • Future challenge: as e-learning increases, how do we recognize and evaluate non-formal/informal learning and skill development? Perhaps we need an accreditation system for that?