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I. Introduction

Historical Overview

The Pond Dynamics/Aquaculture Collaborative Research Support Program (PD/A CRSP) is an international effort to develop aquacultural technology as a means of confronting food security problems in developing countries. The PD/A CRSP is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), under authority of the International Development and Food Assistance Act of 1975 (P.L. 94-161), and by the universities and institutions that participate in the CRSP. Oregon State University (OSU) is the Management Entity (ME) for the CRSP and has technical, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the performance of grant provisions.

The CRSP is a cohesive program of research that is carried out in selected developing countries and the United States by teams of U.S. and host country scientists. The resources of U.S. and host country institutions are brought together to improve the efficiency of pond culture systems through sustainable aquaculture. In the original structure of the CRSP, Auburn University, the Consortium for International Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (CIFAD), and the University of California at Davis participated in a tripartite management of the CRSP, with Oregon State University serving as lead institution and Management Entity. However, beginning with the new grant in 1996 and the dissolution of CIFAD, a new advisory structure will allow for greater representation among participating institutions and provide an effective mechanism for new institutions to be represented on the Board of Directors and Technical Committee.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is executed between the host country institution and the lead university for each project or with the Management Entity. Host country institutions with formal linkages to the CRSP through MOUs are the Royal Thai Department of Fisheries, Asian Institute of Technology, Department of Renewable Natural Resources in Honduras, the Agricultural Research Center of Egypt through March 1995, and Central Luzon State University of the Philippines. Until 1994, the National University of Rwanda held a formal MOU with OSU. Numerous linkages are maintained with other U.S. and host country governmental and non-governmental institutions, and with private companies and farmers.

CRSP activities were formally initiated on 1 September 1982 after several years of planning. From 1982 to 1987, CRSP projects involved the participation of government agencies and educational institutions in six host countries: Honduras, Indonesia, Panama, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Thailand. Funding constraints during 1986 and 1987 forced a reduction in operations. A reorganization plan was submitted in 1986 to the Joint Committee on Agricultural Research and Development (JCARD) Panel on CRSPs and the AID Agricultural Sector Council Subcommittee. The plan, effective September 1987, called for maintaining the PD/A CRSP presence in each of the USAID geographical areas originally selected. Three country sites were chosen: Rwanda, Thailand, and Panama. However, subsequent political initiatives in Panama made it necessary for the CRSP to leave Panama and return to Honduras. Largely through the efforts of Auburn University and through continuing financial commitments of the USAID Mission, the CRSP was welcomed back into Honduras in April 1988 and began experiments with the assistance of the Honduran Department of Renewable Natural Resources (RENARE) in August 1988.

The long collaboration between the CRSP and the Universite Nacional de Rwanda came to a tragic and untimely end when the civil war of 1994 necessitated abandoning the Rwasave Fish Culture Station. Despite the cessation of formal ties, CRSP members have actively assisted former colleagues and their families, where possible. The linkages created by the CRSPs long term presence in East Africa has facilitated the selection of a new research site and Host Country collaborators for the next PD/A CRSP grant.

Recently, USAID has undergone an overall restructuring to better serve the strategic and humanitarian goals of U.S. foreign policy. This restructuring has had little effect on day-to-day operations of the CRSP, but it has changed the USAID bureau in which the PD/A CRSP program officer is located. Previously, all CRSP program officers were housed in the Office of Agriculture within the Bureau of Science and Technology located in Rosslyn, Virginia. Currently, the PD/A CRSP program manager is in the Sustainable Technology Division of the Office of Agriculture and Food Security in the Center for Economic Growth, which is located in the Global Bureau in Washington, DC.

New Activities

A survey of reproduction control as a constraint to aquaculture research and development was conducted, polling over 45 researchers and aquaculturists worldwide. Survey participants were asked to rank the nine CRSP research themes in reproduction control for their importance to extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive aquaculture systems, and to different geographical areas. In addition, participants were asked to score ten different areas of reproduction control, including some outside the themes addressed by the CRSP proposals. The small sample and low response rate caution against drawing firm conclusions from the survey, but the CRSP may consider using survey instruments as a part of future research planning.

When the continuing unrest in Rwanda forced the CRSP to discontinue its research activities, the Rwanda section of the Seventh Work Plan was also revised and submitted to the Technical Committee chairs, the Program Director, and the Board of Directors. The document was subsequently approved and activities initiated. Data analysis of Rwandan experiments and laboratory studies of the Rwandan research themes continues at OSU and Auburn universities.

In addition, researchers began the difficult task of selecting a new site from which to re-build regional capacity in aquaculture research. The process, which is still underway, has entailed research, site visits, correspondence, analyses of soils and water samples, and other exploratory efforts. Selection criteria were developed and several promising sites have been identified.

The PD/A CRSP continues to be one of the principal players in the CRSP Council, which is pursuing a new opportunity to establish a multi-CRSP natural resource project in West Africa. The project aims to strengthen National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) and to assist in that group's plans to produce sustainable natural resources in high demand and short supply. The CRSP benefits from its involvement in the CRSP Council, a group composed of USAID-funded Collaborative Research Support Programs, although full participation in this group extracts a high cost in terms of time and capital from the smaller CRSPs such as ourselves. Through the Council, the PD/A CRSP has over the years participated in presentations to Congress, the World Bank, USDA, USAID, JCARD, and environmental groups. One impact of this effort is to increase public awareness of CRSP programs.

Continuing activities

After completing the first three cycles of standardized global experiments (1982-1987), the CRSP began focusing on the statistical interpretation of data that were collected at the six project sites. The research program was successfully modified to reflect the reduction in sites while maintaining its presence in the major agroecological zones for which it was designed. The global nature of the program therefore remained intact. Experimental protocol, as described in subsequent work plans, conforms to that of the original three cycles to allow comparison between sites over time. Field experiments blend program-oriented (see Global Experiment and Related Investigations) and project-oriented (site-specific) considerations in response to the results of the earlier experiments.

Brackish water studies continue in Choluteca, Honduras. As stakeholders in Honduras become more aware of the economic impact of environmental quality, increased attention is directed to the environmental influences and impacts of shrimp farming in southern Honduras. The baseline data on estuarine water quality were collected at the onset of this project. Researchers continue to monitor water quality on an on-going basis, looking for correlations between seasonal influences on water quality and shrimp farm operations. Local support and USAID Mission support for this project remains strong, and additional collaborators from both the U.S. and Honduras have joined this effort. George Ward, University of Texas in Austin, helped set up a system to monitor estuarine water exchange, and a Peace Corps volunteer helps with data collection. The Panamerican Agriculture School at Zamorano, a long-time CRSP collaborator, has assumed a more active role, with several students conducting research in collaboration with the CRSP. The strength of the collaborative research network is evidenced by the adaptation of some experiments originally planned for the Africa site to be undertaken at El Carao in Honduras. Researchers investigated the reproductive efficiency of adult Nile tilapia and compared their growth rate, survival, and response to sex reversal of fry.

The Egypt Project came to a successful close during this reporting period. The project is credited with adding new research thrusts to the CRSP-polyculture, bioconversion, and biotechnology. All Egypt Project related activities are summarized in the Egypt Project Final Report, which may be ordered from the Program Management Office. The CRSP activities at the Central Laboratory for Aquaculture Research (CLAR) spurred interest in the site from the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM). ICLARM now plans to help CLAR become a regional center, and conducted several events to investigate the feasibility of these activities. The CRSP was invited to participate in one of these activities, ICLARM's research planning workshop in Cairo, Egypt, in September 1995. Participants discussed research and related programs which could be conducted out of the Abbassa facility. Harry Rea, PD/A CRSP Program Officer, attended the meeting to discuss possible linkages with the CRSP.

The global social sciences project to identify the social, economic, and institutional impacts of CRSP research in the host countries was completed during this reporting period. Auburn University economists and sociologists collaborated with researchers from the Philippines, Thailand, and Honduras in an examination of aquaculture technology adoption and diffusion.

The CRSPs direct involvement with farmers, educators, and other end users of CRSP technology is one way to actively extend information generated by the program. Other information is extended through the CRSPs numerous publications, which are aimed at technical and non-technical audiences alike. Members of the CRSP have completed a draft of a comprehensive book, Dynamics of Pond Aquaculture, on the principles and practice of pond aquaculture. Other members of the aquaculture community have also contributed to this effort. The book will be a useful addition to aquaculture researchers' and students' libraries, and an effort is being made to make it available at an affordable price to people in less economically advanced countries. The book will update and expand on an earlier CRSP book, Principles and Practices of Pond Aquaculture, which is in its third printing.

When the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development and Economic Concerns (BIFADEC) originally designed the CRSPs, the mandate called for greater focus on research than on outreach. The PD/A CRSP sees the partnership of these two types of activities as critical to achieving positive social impacts. Therefore, the CRSP continues to place increasing emphasis on farmer participatory research, on extending research information to end users, and on adopting a research strategy that is sustainable and appropriate. In Honduras, farmers cooperate with researchers to monitor water quality of the Gulf of Fonseca and its estuaries. In Northeast Thailand, the CRSP cooperates with scientists from other donor agencies in helping farmers help themselves. The direct input that farmers provide to the research process renders the results more relevant and cost-effective.

CRSP Continuation Plan

During this reporting period, the 1996-2001 Continuation Plan for the PD/A CRSP was the focus of efforts by the Technical Committee and the Program Management Office (PMO). One result of the exhaustive reviews conducted by the PD/A CRSP External Evaluation Panel in 1991-92, and by the consulting firm Tropical Research and Development in 1994, was that the PD/A CRSP was invited to submit a proposal for continuation of the CRSP. The process leading to the continuation proposal has been complex. In 1993, the Director initiated a review of the aquaculture literature, which yielded information on constraints to aquaculture development. A Proposal Coordinating Committee, composed of members of the Board, the Technical Committee, and the Program Management Office, developed a Request for Proposals (RFP) based on these constraints. In response to the RFP, 25 institutions submitted preproposals. The PMO classified each preproposal into one of seven research focus areas in preparation for the annual meeting.

The main focus of the 1994 Annual Meeting was the development of the Continuation Proposal. Host country representatives advised the group about the specific constraints facing aquaculture research and development in their home countries of Egypt, Honduras, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Thailand. Meeting attendees also participated in a workshop supported by the USAID/Women in Development/Policy and Program Coordination Office to hone their strategic planning skills by focusing on improving project sustainability and equity of impact. Expert working groups were formed for each of the seven focus areas; these groups examined the preproposals to determine how well they addressed the objectives of the focus areas. The working groups also prioritized the focus areas and preproposals.

The Proposal Coordinating Committee aligned the focus areas with the CRSP areas of comparative strength and developed a draft outline for the proposal, which was reviewed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Proposal Coordinating Committee and the PMO prepared a first draft, which formed the basis of discussion during the 1995 Annual Meeting. At this time, a Technical Committee member was selected to develop a second draft. This draft was sent to USAID for internal review and comment, and returned with the suggestion to strengthen the constraints section and modify the program management section to incorporate USAID's current thinking on CRSP management. USAID also requested that the CRSP consider collaboration with other international research organizations.

In response to USAID's suggestions, the Director once again reviewed the literature and developed a constraints matrix and a donor matrix. To increase collaborative links, the CRSP invited representatives of ICLARM and Aquaculture for Local Community Development (ALCOM)/FAO to meet with CRSP researchers, students, and administrators at OSU, and participated in a USAID-sponsored session to develop aquaculture research strategies for USAID. A Technical Committee member distributed a survey of reproduction research needs to 45 research administrators, researchers, and industry representatives worldwide. Finally, the Director of OSU's Women in Development Program reviewed the CRSP Continuation Plan in October 1995.

CRSP Administrative Reports

Two volumes-Volume 1, Program Accomplishments and Volume 2, Technical Reports-comprise the PD/A CRSP Annual Administrative Report. Each volume is designed to stand on its own. Program Accomplishments reports all administrative, research, and outreach activities during the reporting period and includes sections on program history, personnel, financial status, administrative and management activities, abstracts of all technical experiments conducted during the past year, and non-research activities such as training, publications, and service. Technical Reports focuses on the research accomplishments of the program and contains full technical reports.