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The ICLARM Quarterly
April - June 1999, Vol. 22, No. 2


    The human dimension is well in the forefront of all of ICLARM’s work. With the ultimate aim of improving the lives of the poor people, the research must focus on the impacts of human activities on fisheries and vice-versa. The question we constantly ask ourselves at ICLARM is: how will our research and management advice affect the people who depend directly and indirectly on fisheries? And in looking for the answers it has become apparent that the role of women in this sector is important and needs attention. 

     As in much of agriculture and the informal sector, the contribution of women in fisheries is unrecognized and undervalued. Not only do women contribute substantially to these activities, but the income they earn has a more significant impact on the nutrition and education levels of the family. Thus, the empowerment of poor women by raising their status, skills and opportunities to earn is a good approach to achieve a better life for the “present and future generations of poor people in the developing countries”.

     Speakers at the International Symposium on Women in Asian Fisheries (p. 39) focused on the experiences of women workers in this sector in Asia. The underlying themes of all the papers were that: the contribution of women in the fisheries sector should be recognized more explicitly; in Southeast Asia, women in this sector spend  about 45% of their time on fishery activities, equal to the men; 5 to 7 persons derive job dependency from one person that produces fish or fish products; and that women in and around the fishery industry should be assisted to participate in local fishery, ancilliary and related enterprises. In short, there needs to be an explicit agenda to focus on the conditions and requirements of women in and around fisheries and to harness their potential to improve the lives of their families and the community around them. ICLARM’s work, undertaken in collaboration with the Bangladesh Fisheries Research Institute and several NGOs, in promoting aquaculture in household ponds and unused waterbodies in Bangladesh has incidentally changed the lives of hundreds of poor women and their families, within the existing social fabric, even though women were not specifically targeted as beneficiaries. Much more can be achieved if developmental activities actually recognize this potential and keep women as an important part of their overall focus.

     Perhaps a good start would be to replace the word ‘fishermen’ with ‘fishers’, for it is not always what a word means but what it implies that strongly influences people’s perceptions and actions!

Rita Kapadia
Editor, Naga, The ICLARM Quaterly


Assessment of the Impact of Aquatic Resources Research by ICLARM: Scope and Methodologies
M. Ahmed, M.M. Dey and M.J. Williams 


The importance of quantifying the economic returns to investments in aquatic resources research together with the social, environmental and institutional impacts of such investments is widely recognized among ICLARM's donors, trustees and beneficiaries. As with other CGIAR centers, ICLARM is being asked to provide specific accounts of the outputs of its research and their impact on farms and on fisheries, including their socioeconomic impact. Such impact information has become a necessary, though not sufficient, basis for setting priorities and allocating resources for research for the CGIAR centers.
This paper discusses the types and methods of impact assessment relevant to ICLARM's work. A three-pronged assessment approach is envisaged to capture the full range of impacts: 1) ex ante assessment for research priority setting; 2) assessment prior to dissemination or adoption along with monitoring and evaluation; and 3) ex post impact assessment. It also discusses the objectives and scope for operational impact assessment of ICLARM's research.

M. Ahmed is Program Leader/Senior Scientist of the Policy Research and Impact Assessment Program; M.M. Dey is Research Scientist of the Germplasm Enhancement and Breeding Program and M.J. Williams is Director General, ICLARM, MCPO Box 2631, 0718 Makati City, Philippines.

NTAFP Section (Network of Tropical Aquaculture Fisheries Professionals )

Aquabyte (Aquaculture Section of NTAFP)


The importance of fish in the diet and nutrition of rural households in developing tropical countries, especially in Asia, is well recognized. Declining catches from common or open access inland capture fisheries are resulting in declining intake of fish by low-income rural households who depend on these resources for their animal protein requirements. This is resulting in malnutrition, especially among children. This issue contains a paper which brings out the importance of small indigenous fish as a source of calcium, iron and Vitamin A and the possibility of culturing these fish along with other carps.
Rice field fisheries are a major source of fish for people in many provinces of Cambodia and managers and development workers should not neglect to conserve and manage these resources, while promoting aquaculture and other developmental activities.

Dr. M.V. Gupta

Rice Field Fisheries—a Resource for Cambodia
H. Guttman


Small-scale fisheries in and around rice fields in the lowland areas of Cambodia are greatly underestimated and undervalued. Their contribution to the protein requirements of the poor rural households is significant. In Svay Rieng province, they could provide 65-75% of the animal protein requirements of these households. The value could well be around 40% of the value of rice production. It is, therefore, important that these natural stocks and the fisheries are managed well and that developmental activities explicitly consider their impact on these fisheries.

H. Guttman is a Program Specialist from the AIT Aqua Outreach, Asian Institute of Technology, P.O. Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani, 12120, Thailand.

Culture of Mola (Amblypharyngodon mola) in Polyculture with Carps - Experience from a Field Trial in Bangladesh
N. Roos, Md. M. Islam, S.H. Thilsted, Md. Ashrafuddin, Md. Mursheduzzaman, D.M. Mohsin 
and A.B.M. Shamsuddin


Studies were carried out during May 1997 to January 1998 in Kishoreganj district in Bangladesh to investigate the production potential of carp polyculture in combination with Amblypharyngodon mola in seasonal ponds. The preliminary results indicate that A. mola can be successfully cultured in small seasonal ponds in polyculture with carp. This practice can result in an increase in the households’ consumption of small fish which have a very high content of calcium, iron and vitamin A. In addition to the nutritional benefits, it can also provide additional income through the sale of carp and surplus small fish.

N. Roos and S.H. Thilsted are from the Research Department of Human Nutrition, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Denmark while Md. M. Iislam, Md. Aasrafuddin, Md. M. Mursheduzzaman, D.M. Mohsin and A.B.M. Shamsuddin are from the Mymensingh Aquaculture Extension Project, Mymensingh, Bangladesh.

Chemoreception Studies in Relation to Feeding Responses in the Marine Shrimps H. Milne Edwards (Penaeus indicus) and Miers (Metapenaeus dobsonii)
C.H. Fernandez


A study of chemoreception in relation to feeding and other factors involved showed that feeding behavior in shrimps can be triggered by chemical stimuli. However, P. indicus and M. dobsonii differ significantly in their chemotactic response to different stimuli.

C.H. Fernandez is Assistant Professor at the Department of Fisheries Farm Management, Fisheries College and Research Institute, Tuticorin 628008, India.

Fishbyte (Fisheries Section of NTAFP)

The Coelacanth in FishBase
R.B. Reyes, Jr.


The recent discovery of a coelacanth population in Indonesia has renewed interest in this living fossil. Until this discovery, the coelacanth was thought to occur only in the Comoro archipelago. Recent studies show that the species is highly vulnerable to extinction. This paper presents a summary of the information available on the coelacanth in FishBase. It also highlights the utility of FishBase, both as a repository of scientific information and as an analytical tool for research.

R.B. Reyes, Jr. is from ICLARM, MCPO Box 2631, 0718 Makati City, Philippines.

AFSSRNews Section

Fish Consumption Pattern in Major Freshwater Fisheries Provinces of Cambodia
M. Ahmed, Hap Navy, Ly Vuthy and R.A.V. Santos


Production and consumption of fish were estimated for a one year period during 1995-96 using a sample of 5 117 households. The sample was taken from a study area covering 83 sample communes in 51 fishing districts belonging to eight freshwater fisheries provinces. About 39% of households in fishing dependent communities were actively involved in fishing. Of the total fishing households, 14% took part in commercial fishing using middle-scale fishing gear. Average annual catch per household for middle-scale and family fishing was 3 319 kg and 647 kg, respectively. Nearly 40% of the fish catch was consumed within the communes. The per capita consumption of fresh fish by fishing households (49.7 kg/yr) was higher than that of non-fishing households (39.9 kg/yr). Including processed fish, the total fish consumption by the fishing dependent communes was estimated at 75.6 kg per capita per annum. Given this high rate of fish consumption, development interventions must consider the role of fisheries in ensuring a sustainable livelihood and food security to Cambodia’s growing population.

M. Ahmed and R.A.V. Santos are from ICLARM, MCPO Box 2631, 0718 Makati City, Philippines; Hap Navy and Ly Vuthy are from the Project for Management of Freshwater Capture Fisheries of Cambodia, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia.