The current reporting period, 1 August 1996 through 31 July 1997, is the first year of operation under the PD/A CRSP Continuation Plan 1996-2001 and of the CRSPs Eighth Work Plan. This report is a collection of research papers summarizing activities described in the Eighth Work Plan and its predecessor, the Interim Work Plan. In addition, it contains several Special Topics research reports. The companion to this volume is the Fifteenth Annual Administrative Report which highlights program management and research support activities, and includes summaries of program history, staff, finances, and publications. It also contains the abstracts of all technical reports included in this volume.
The PD/A CRSP was initiated formally on 1 September 1982 as a Title XII program under the International Development and Food Assistance Act of 1975. Since its inception, the goal of the CRSP has been to improve the efficiency of pond production systems through sustainable aquaculture. The strategy adopted by the CRSP in pursuit of this goal has involved the development of a comprehensive research agenda aimed at understanding and improving the efficiency of pond culture systems. The centerpiece of this strategy was the Global Experiment.
The Global Experiment was intended as a comparative study of aquaculture pond dynamicsone that would begin to explain how and why ponds at different geographic locations function differently, and how the management of those ponds might be adapted to different sets of environmental conditions to optimize production. Hence, a common set of experiments was implemented globally, following a standardized experimental protocol at a number of research sites around the world. Over the years, the specific objectives of each Global Experiment, conducted once during each biennial work plan, were modified based on previous research results and current information needs, while continuing to further investigate the original charge.
As CRSP research progressed through the 1980s, questions surfaced that differed from site to site and would need to be addressed with specific production optimization experiments. This family of experiments, separate from the standardized Global Experiment, yet performed concurrently with it, also had global implications. After the first few years of production research, the need for economic analyses of pond aquaculture systems became apparent. Previous research had relied on many, often tenuous, assumptions about the dynamic mechanisms regulating pond productivity and pointed to the inadequacy of the existing database. To find out if contemporary pond management practices were in fact the most efficient, CRSP researchers evaluated production methods. An extensive comparison of the socioeconomic dimensions of CRSP production techniques among sites is helping CRSP researchers to understand the impacts of socioeconomic influences on their work. A third research question developed out of the collaboration with Honduran shrimp farmers and led to the investigation of the environmental effects of effluents on receiving waters.
CRSP participants also decided that the comprehensive analysis and interpretation of global data would be greatly enhanced through the formation of an independent team of researchers who could devote their efforts to this type of analysis. This task force was formally established in 1986 as the Data Analysis and Synthesis Team (DAST). The charge of the DAST is to systematically analyze pond processes and to develop computer models that reflect our growing understanding of pond systems. The DAST members are more than end-users of the database; rather, they participate actively in the design process of the next cycle of Global Experiments.
The multitude of the data collected by the
Global Experiment and other investigations are
available through the PD/A CRSP Central Database,
which is the largest database containing
standardized data on warmwater aquaculture. To
facilitate information dissemination the Central Database
is now electronically accessible at two locations on
Worldwide Web: the PD/A CRSP Internet Web Site (http://osu.orst.edu/dept/crsp/homepage.html) and the Oregon State University (OSU) Bioresource Engineering Web Site (http://biosys.bre.orst.edu/crspDB).
Current Research Program
The Continuation Plan 1996-2001 listed
seven constraints to aquacultural development: inefficient and inconsistent
aquacultural productivity, negative environmental
effects resulting from aquaculture operations, a
poor understanding of social and economic factors, insufficient human capacity development, poor
or outdated information management, limited networking capacities, and political and
structural inadequacies. The PD/A CRSP developed
an integrated approach to address these
by constructing a program based on two building blocks: production systems research and capacity building research support activities. Production systems research addresses the first three constraints through the following research areas: production optimization, environmental effects, and social and economic aspects. Research support activities respond to the fourth through sixth constraint through education development, information management, and networking which are reported in the Fifteenth Annual Administrative Report. The seventh constraint, political and structural inadequacies, can only be indirectly addressed by a research program such as the CRSP.
Research areas are further subdivided into specific research themes. Research areas and their respective themes are listed here:
Mr. Mathias Wafula was Head of Station at Sagana Fish Farm, a new CRSP
research site in Kenya, during the reporting
period. He is now Assistant Director of Fisheries for Nyanza and Western Provinces.
The current Global Experiment, fundamental to the operation of the CRSP, focuses on the optimization of nutrient inputs into pond systems and falls into the research theme of Feeds and Fertilizers. In addition, current research is conducted in the following research themes: Pond Dynamics, Feeds and Fertilizers, Reproduction Control, Aquaculture Systems Modeling, New Aquaculture Systems/New Species, Effluents and Pollution, Marketing and Economic Analysis, Adoption/Diffusion, and Decision Support Systems.
Other changes instituted under the new grant include the addition of two new prime sites, Kenya and Peru, to the Host Country sites at which the CRSP was active under the previous grant, i.e., Honduras, Rwanda, Thailand, and the Philippines. The CRSP was also previously active in Egypt under a separate grant. In addition to scheduled research activities, researchers at each new site also collect baseline data to characterize climatic conditions and water and soil properties. Research at the Kenya site continues the line of inquiry previously developed for the former CRSP site in Rwanda on the effect of supplemental feeds on tilapia production while research at the Peru site emphasizes the development of new aquaculture species. The Philippines, formerly a companion site to Thailand, will take on prime site functions as soon as the current search for a lead institution has been completed. Activities in Thailand focus on regional concerns, e.g., production of larger sized tilapia and environmental effects of aquaculture. Investigations in Honduras continue to center around the effects of shrimp aquaculture on the Gulf of Fonseca and the further development of tilapia aquaculture.
Special Topics Research
The Special Topics component of the CRSP was created to provide opportunities for host country and US researchers to collaborate on original research directed toward the needs and priorities of each host country on an ad hoc basis. The intent is to strengthen linkages and contribute to the development of research capabilities within host country institutions by providing opportunities for scholarly involvement of faculty and advanced students. This component also provides host country institutions and agencies with access to the human resources of the CRSP in seeking solutions to short-term local problems.
Although Special Topics Research projects are an important part of the CRSP, they are not a major component in terms of funding support or time expenditure. Twenty to 25 percent of each researcher's time typically is devoted to this activity. The CRSP places a high priority on its long-term research agenda. Host country institutions and USAID Missions, however, often consider basic research activities such as the Global Experiment to be of low priority. Consequently, administrators in the host countries sometimes have difficulty justifying participation in the CRSP. The CRSP support for the Special Topics Research activities provide incentives for their institutions' participation in the CRSP.
CRSP Work Plans
From the CRSPs beginning, the Technical Committee (TC) of the PD/A CRSP has been responsible for developing technical plans to guide the research efforts of each experimental cycle. During the first three cycles of the program, when global experiments were the main emphasis, CRSP Work Plans were developed annually. The First Work Plan specified a standard protocol for the preparation and stocking of ponds at all locations. Research in the Second Work Plan compared the responses of ponds receiving organic fertilizers with the responses of ponds that received inorganic fertilizers. Experiments described in the Third Work Plan investigated the effects of varying levels of organic fertilizers on pond dynamics.
In response to recommendations of the External Evaluation Panel (EEP), a CRSP advisory body, during the first Triennial Review, the program adopted a biennial work plan schedule beginning with the Fourth Work Plan. Two-year operating cycles allow more time for completion and evaluation of experiments before plans for the next cycle must be completed.
Although the research program has evolved
so that the Global Experiment and site-specific experiments are conducted at the various sites,
the concept of a standard protocol for research
at all sites endures. The standard protocol was initially
introduced as a part of the First Work Plan and has been refined with each subsequent
Work Plan. In 1992 it finally evolved into the PD/A
CRSPs Handbook of Analytical Methods, compiled by
Materials and Methods Subcommittee of the TC and distributed to CRSP participants.
The Fourth Work Plan included tests of specific hypotheses formulated after review of the first three cycles of CRSP research. Special attention was paid to the economic aspects of CRSP pond management procedures. Further, the DAST started to systematically use the Central Database.
The Fifth Work Plan was developed by the TC in May 1989, and encompassed research efforts carried out between 1 September 1989 and 31 August 1991. In addition to the Global Experiment, each site proposed various studies that addressed specific aquaculture needs of the host countries. Field experiments with farmer-cooperators were initiated, allowing researchers to evaluate their strategies under working conditions, and strengthening the linkage between research and practice. Economic analysis became another tool by which the CRSP measured the quality of its research achievements. The DASTs efforts focused on refining models and developing fertilizer guidelines.
The Sixth Work Plan, spanning the period 1 September 1991 to 31 August 1993, was approved at the Ninth CRSP Annual Meeting in May of 1991. A 20 percent funding increase allowed the CRSP to broaden its research scope. Nine supplemental projects were included in the Sixth Work Plan. One of these studies was a preliminary investigation of women's participation in fish culture activities in Rwanda. This study in turn attracted a buy-in from USAIDs Women In Development program (PPC/WID) to perform more complete investigations on the role of gender in fish culture in Rwanda. Also, under the auspices of the Thailand team, research activities were re-initiated in the Philippines.
Under the Seventh Work Plan, the CRSP resumed its original investigation of pond dynamics
in brackish water systems, a line of research that
had been temporarily suspended when the CRSPs brackish water sites in Panama and the
Philippines were lost in 1987. The Seventh Work Plan
also introduced biotechnology, and its strong potential
to aid aquaculture industries both domestically and abroad, as a new research focus.
Experiments originally scheduled to be conducted in
were reassigned to different sites after the outbreak of civil war. The Africa team regrouped and developed a revised Seventh Work Plan whose experiments are currently conducted in Honduras and the United States. In addition, research on the influence of elevation on tilapia production originally conducted in Rwanda continues in the Philippines.
The Interim Work Plan covered experiments that were conducted during the transition year (May 1995 through April 1996). This deviation from the usual biennial Work Plan format resulted from delays in the grant renewal process. The Interim Work Plan allowed the successful transition from the program's third grant to the fourth grant and the Eight Work Plan.
The CRSPs Eighth Work Plan, describing activities to be conducted by the CRSP during the period 1 August 1996 to 31 July 1998, was developed under a new process calculated to bolster the scientific rigor of the program. Previous work plans were developed by the researchers and reviewed by the TC. For the Eighth Work Plan, the Program Management Office developed a Request for Proposals (RFP) with input from the TC, the EEP, and the Board of Directors. This RFP was distributed to member institutions and solicited proposals for the research themes mentioned in the Continuation Plan. Incoming proposals were reviewed by external and internal referees. These evaluations were used by the program's advisory bodies to determine successful proposals and to recommend them to the Management Entity for funding.
The investigations contained in the Eighth Work Plan reflect the broadening of research which was proposed in the Continuation Plan 1996-2001 as well as increased integration among sites. In addition to specific research activities implemented at prime sites in Central America, South America, East Africa, and Southeast Asia, the Eighth Work Plan includes, for the first time, work plans for cross-cutting research. Cross-cutting research is research that may be conducted at one or more PD/A CRSP sites, and whose results may have wider application than results from prime and companion site investigations. This research builds upon and expands research results obtained through earlier PD/A CRSP research.