There are many initiatives underway which are designed to increase food supply, employment and income opportunities in developing countries, most of which require considerable capital inputs. Often overlooked, are the opportunities to produce more food from the natural productivity of local ecosystems. Culture-based fisheries (CBF) are one example of a relatively simple and low cost technology that can deliver nutritional and economic benefits to rural communities, which often have few livelihood options.

The first ever Regional Training Course on Culture-based Fisheries in Inland Waters was held at Nha Trang University from 30 October to 8 November. The objective of the course was to provide participants with the skills to assist local communities to plan and manage culture-based fisheries. The course included training on:

  • Current practices and relevance.
  • Evaluation of water bodies for CBF.
  • Establishing a management system, legal and policy framework.
  • Community consultation.
  • Gender mainstreaming.
  • Entrepreneurship development.
  • Risks and risk management.
  • Stocking practices & stock assessment.
  • Harvesting and marketing strategies.

The course included practical sessions and simulations on many of these aspects, and participants also provided briefings on culture-based fisheries practices in their own countries.

Video recordings of the lectures will be available for viewing and download from the NACA website in a few days.

We had an unusually broad range of participants, even for a NACA event, with 41 trainees from throughout Africa (Liberia, Namibia, Nigeria, Uganda, Zambia), Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam) and Australia, including many local and international students from Nha Trang University. Questions, feedback and input from the participants was exceptional, and our expert speakers certainly learned a thing or two from their students!

An unexpected feature of the course was a tropical storm that, having done substantial damage over the Philippines, intensified to a category 1 typhoon before making landfall in Nha Trang. The city was shut down to prepare for the storm, which arrived in the early hours of 5 November and we spent most of the day waiting for the winds to abate. Sadly, there were quite a few casualities for which NACA wishes to offer condolences. However, despite widespread damage and power outages the course resumed the following day and we were able to complete all planned sessions thanks to Dr Hung and his team.

The course was made possible thanks to the generous financial support of the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP), which co-organised the course in partnership with NACA and Nha Trang University (NTU).

NACA wishes to express our sincere thanks to the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme for its vision and exceptional support in making the course possible and for supporting the participation of trainees from throughout Asia and Africa.

NACA would also like to thank the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation of Australia for supporting the participation of two indigenous trainees: Mr Jerry Stephen, Member for Ugur and the Fisheries Portfolio of the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA); and Mr Charles David, Senior Project Officer of TSRA.

We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to Prof. Pham Quoc Hung, his students, the staff of Nha Trang University and the Vietnamese Government. Organising an international training course is not easy at the best of times, but to do so while recovering from a public emergency is a truly exceptional effort that we will not forget. Thank you!

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