Future for Fishiries Education, Research & Extension : New Initiatives

E-resources and ICT* Future FOR FISHERIES EDUCATION, RESEARCH & EXTENSION: NEW INITIATIVES
S.W. Belsare, S.B. Gore, P.W. Naik & M.R. Burande
sacmax_aqua@yahoo.com Nagpur, Maharashtra


ICT – Information and Communication Technology 

Abstract :  India has vast potential for fishes from both inland and marine resources, due to its long coastline, huge reservoirs, etc. Nevertheless, volatile climatic conditions and rapidly rising population have become major causes of food scarcity in India.  And to meet the requirement of food the agri., fisheries and veterinary researchers will have to take more efforts to give something substantial to the farmers.  The times are changing and therefore requirements and environment of Fisheries professionals are also changing. The ongoing changing process has made environment highly competitive and complex.  The impact of the internet and digital products on various Fisheries Educations, Research, and extension activities are noteworthy.  Amazing growth of electronic resources changed the Fisheries extension activity dynamically and effectively.  The application of e-resources has completely transformed the outlook of traditional Fisheries education, research and extension in to modern one. This paper is an attempt to highlight, in a nutshell, how e-resources can gear up to take up the challenge of the new millennium to expedite the research and extension activities  Present rapid development in the field of fisheries and recent innovation in communication technology witnessed a changing emphasis in the role of Fisheries professionals. This changing emphasis necessitates the Fisheries professional to be exposed to new technologies.

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Introduction :

The 'fisheries and aquaculture sector' is recognized as the sunshine sector in Indian agriculture. It stimulates growth of number of subsidiary industries and is the source of livelihood for a large section of economically backward population, especially fishermen, of the country. It helps in increasing food supply, generating adequate employment opportunities and raising nutritional level. It has a huge export potential and is a big source of foreign exchange earnings for the country.

          The 21st century was shaped by sweeping changes in agricultural technology as well as communication technologies.  The emergence and use of information technology is the century’s most significant development affecting all the aspects and every stratum of the society.  If India is to flourish and achieve the status of a developed nation, it must concentrate on technology based Agri., fisheries and Animal production.  To accomplish the desired development sphere, focus on technology invention and extension is indispensable.  It is well-known fact that there is still a wide scope for Agri and fisheries development.  Nevertheless, the gap / vacuum between the rural and urban scenario is to be bridged.  In view of Indian population, today nothing can be more important than the production of food from agriculture, fisheries and animal husbrary.  To enhance the income from agriculture and livestock resources continuous technology invention and research is needed.  To dissemination of technology invented by the scientist a strong and effective extension programme is required.  The application of computers to information processing has brought several products and services to the scientists.  Consequently, the academic community has undergone tremendous changes during these years, assuming new dimensions influenced by technology-driven applications.   The Information system is designed to facilitate access to a huge amount of data. To meet the challenges of education, research and extension of the 21st century, fisheries professionals need to acquire more professional skills and new competencies.  They have to acquire more skills and apply them in different situation. They also need to prepare themselves with perfection to face the complex challenges of the future problems dealing with rapid and substantive changes.  Now, the question is how to get the precise and pin pointed information in short time.  The answer is very obvious- ‘Library and Information Centre’ and various e-resources.

Fisheries and Information Technology :

         Over the years, fisheries' industry is emerging and rapidly growing. This covers both capture and culture including inland and sea, aquaculture, gears, navigation, oceanography, aquarium management, breeding, processing, export and import of seafood, special products and by-products, research and related activities. There exists several investment opportunities in the sector for the entrepreneurs world over.  In the past decades, some technologies have entered gradually and their impact on fisheries education, research and extension has been instrumental and noteworthy.  The requirement of information by fisheries professional for the purpose of education, research and extension is totally different. And that is why they are in need of something substantial which can provide the pinpointed information.   The   ICT has completely changed format of the dissemination of information in to digital with worldwide approach.  ICT has become first and foremost need of Fisheries academician, researchers and extension workers. 

Importance of Electronic Resources for Fisheries Professionals :

          Fisheries researchers bring innovation and the extension worker has to transmit the scientific information to the fish farmers.  Besides this he has to inform the researchers about the problem faced by the fish farmers, this process can be expedited by using ICT based services.  New technology is very fast and accurate and has brought varied changes in the information services.  Technology just like, video-conferencing, broadband, wi-fi, mobile telephony all contributing to increasing of speed and availability of direct internet communication. 

e-databases : The Fisheries Extension worker has to create environment or situation in which fish farmers could learn to imbibe the technology invented by the researchers.  The extension worker has to tackle the difficult situation differently.  He has to adopt the doctrine of planning, organization, co-ordination, implementation and control and for this he needs information.  Today there are number of databases available on the network.  They are either free or with charges.  The networked information sources- locally informed databases, regional or statewide consortia licensed databases, aggregated databases, publishers databases, public available (web) resources etc.  e- databases can be exploited to acquire the information which could facilitate the extension activities.

e- journals :   It is very frustrating to see that even in 21st century due to lack of awareness towards modern technology of harvesting, fish culture, fish transportation, preservation, production the fish etc farmers are falling in the trap of aping the traditional methods of fisheries which is not able to yield targeted production.  The fisheries scientists have to take uninterrupted efforts to elevate the research to control and treat the various fish diseases which can take a heavy toll, for the research work the research needs information e-journals can be conducive to the researcher to retrieve the information.  The e-journal is an electronic form of a journal, serial magazine, newspaper, newsletter, continuing directory, annual report and some monographic series if classed together.  A journal-like electronic publication with no print counter port made available via the web is an electronic journal.  Nowadays e-journals are playing vital role in research and extension and there are many agencies or consortium which are providing e-journals.  Many journals are available full text now.

e-books : There are several challenges and issues in the fisheries, such as, accurate data on assessment of fishery resources and their potential in terms of fish production; development of sustainable technologies for fin and shell fish culture; yield optimisation; harvest and post-harvest operations; landing and berthing facilities for fishing vessels and welfare of fishermen; etc.  In India no agri. or fisheries university is self sufficient as far as the collection of books and journals are concerned.  Hence, resource sharing has become one of the important aspects.  An e-book is an electronic version of a traditional print book that can be read by using a personal computer or by using an e-book reader.  User can purchase an e-book on CD, but most popular method of getting an e-book is to purchase a downloadable file of e-book from a website.  These tools can be useful to acquire rapid information which would be helpful to address the various issues in the fisheries.

General uses and advantages of e-resources :   There is greater need to transform the sector by taking into account its achievements and capabilities. The strong and sustaining ecological resource base, rational and pre-emptive policy, public and private investments, good governance, etc holds the key for sustainable growth of the sector. The fuller utilization of its potential can be achieved through infrastructure, investments, technology intensification, diversification and value addition. In a nutshell, various issues related to fishing activities in India need to be addressed in a time bound manner with mutual understanding and cooperation between public and private sectors.   

(http://business.gov.in/agriculture/fisheriese.php

 Impact of e-resources : e-resources have an impact on reference services and circulation and subsequently on education, research and extension. The Agriculture, Fisheries and livestock development officers and other agri. professionals  who are working in the villages and rendering their valuable services must get acquainted with the modern agri., fisheries and veterinary Techniques.  Hence by using e- resources they can have access to the information.  E-resources are available over internet and intranet.  The personal visits to libraries are no more required.  Instead, user may use and visit library over their laptops, notebooks or on desktops.  The impact of information technology and online information resources on frequency of library visits declines and remote use increases.

Reference Services : The PG and Ph.D students require various information while completion of their thesis or research work.  The modern reference services can expedite their research work.

Mobile Future for Fisheries activities :

          The livelihood of many people in India is depended on agriculture and fisheries.  In view of the population there agri, livestock and fish production should be increased.  Enhancing agriculture development cannot be imagined without livestock and fisheries.  The fishery has a key role in reducing poverty.   This is the information age and the farmers must learn to cope with continuing and amicable changes invented by the scientist.  The various modern extension services facilitate the farmers to imbibe the skills and technology rapidly through extension education.  Gone are the days when the extension worker used to take the help of action photographs, books, leaflets, folders, newsletter, bulletin, charts and manually handled projectors etc.  Now, in present era the technology based tools are used eg. Computer, internet, laptop, e-journals, e-book and latest audio and visual device etc and this has expedited the extension work.  In present context the extension workers are gifted with a technology that allows transmission of data, via a computer, without having to be connected to a fixed physical link.  Mobile computing encompasses a number of technologies and devices such as wireless LANs, Notebook computer, cell and smart phones, table PCs and PDAs.  The mobile computing helps the extension worker to organise extension programme more effectively, communicate with co-workers or scientists instantly.  Mobile computing is a versatile and potentially strategic technology that improves extension quality by providing accessibility to the required information.   Society may be on the verge of revolutionary phase of mobile device use in everyday life generally and in extension programme particularly.  The most fisheries students own cell phones and laptops and the capabilities of these and other devices are expanding.  It is hoped that the increased capabilities of mibile device could lead to new form of engagement with student learning; this possibility can be embraced by the library and information centre that seek to be strong partners in the teaching and learning process of any institute.

Conclusion :   Before offering the suggestion about technology the Fisheries Professionals must understand the present requirement of farmers. It is felt that there is a requirement of e-resources to boost the fisheries. Education, Research and Extension. The academician and researchers could get relevant information by using various e-resources. Moreover, infrastructure and training, programmes are essential for better use of electronic resources.  By using various e-resources the agri. extension worker can study the technology which is available in India as well as at abroad and this is how he can explore the possibilities for improvement in the agriculture. 

There is long way to go, to conclude with, can say e-resources in its broadest sense remains the most important component of the fisheries education, research and extension.  Indeed, its contribution to the fisheries profession is recognized. Various e-resources remain and will remain the foremost source of information for the fisheries profession. As the ICT has become a part of fisheries education, it can be said that improvement of ICT skills means the improvement of education, research and extension.

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