Future Educational Challenges for Maritime Information Society
Il ruolo della formazione e delle tecnologie dell'informazione
per lo sviluppo dell'economia marittima
In collaborazione con
AMRIE e con il Forum MARIS di Genova
EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN THE FISHERY AND AQUACULTURE SECTOR ON ICT ISSUES
Capo Unità - Direzione Generale Pesca Commissione Europea
The topic "education and training in the fishery
and aquaculture sector on ICT issues" necessitates an answer
to the following three items:
- The state of play of the ICT development in the fishery and
- The reasons for education and training;
- The possible content of education and training programmes
on ICT issues.
- Recent developments of ICT in the fishery and aquaculture
For several years the Commission has emphasised the strategic
role of ICT for Europe. It has contributed to the debate on ICT
and its implementation with a range of initiatives and policy
documents. To be mentioned in this context are, amongst others,
the guidelines for the implementation of the future structural
programmes, "Cohesion and the Information Society",
the attachment of great importance to the new technology in the
framework of the 5th Research Framework.
The Information Society Technologies Programme (IST) and a
future communication of the Commission on "Strategies for
jobs in Information Society".
The Director General for Fisheries of the European Commission
is promoting the Marsource initiative which has been initially
launched by the G 8 countries in the framework of the MARIS
(MARitime Information Society) project. The objective of the Marsource
programme is to encourage the fishing industry to apply ICT with
the view to strengthening its competitiveness in a world-wide
market and to contributing to the creation of new services and
Marsource follows a bottom-up approach. It is intended mainly
for private companies.
As a first step of the Marsource initiative the Directorate General
for Fisheries has created an Internet web site about fisheries
data which cover economic aspects of fisheries with a view to
showing the potential benefits of using ICT in fisheries by private
industry. Furthermore, in order to inform the industry about
the strategic role of ICT in fisheries, Marsource workshops have
been organised in most Member States. The result of some workshops
are available on the Internet.
The use of ICT in fisheries is steadily progressing in Europe.
Numerous web sites have been created on the Internet providing
detailed historical information on landings which are broken down
by species, quality and daily prices. Also to be mentioned are
information on business activities, product profiles of enterprises
and associations, search for co-operation and offers of all kinds
of services for the fishery sector. The information and communication
technology has contributed to more transparency in fisheries.
A list of web sites of public bodies can be found on the Marsource
web site of the European Commission. In this context I would
like to mention particularly the excellent Italian website ISMEA
which provide daily information about landings and prices of the
most important ports.
Electronic trading of fresh fish
Electronic trade in fresh fish in the European Union is mainly
a business to business activity. Intranet is used to link remote
buyers with one or more auctions for the first sale of fresh fish.
Intranet is a closed communication network based on the Internet
technology via a local provider at local telephone costs. The
electronic trade on the world wide Internet concerns only processed
products (conserves, smoked fish, and fishmeal).
At the beginning of this year, we counted 50 auctions in Europe
which are equipped with electronic remote bidding systems. You
can see on the diagram that the new systems are concentrated at
present in certain Member States such as France, the Netherlands,
Belgium, the UK and Germany.
There are reports from several Member States of plans to use electronic
remote bidding systems at auctions or to establish electronic
links with other auctions during this year. The Commission is
not aware of all concrete plans. However, the plans for the Shetland
Islands and Grimsby in the UK and Zeebrugge to create further
links with auctions in the Netherlands and England and the envisaged
electronic link between Morocco and European buyers can be mentioned
in this context.
In East Germany, three harbours and a French provider of software
have recently created a company which will implement the electronic
sale of fresh fish of the Baltic which is landed in the three
ports in question. The company will be responsible for the data
transfer (quantities, broken down by species, sizes, quality grades
and other technical and economic criteria) to a central server,
the correct grading of the fish and all questions as regards the
transport of the fish to the buyers and financing. The company
offers a complete service to sellers and buyers to commercialise
the fish electronically. The producer can offer his products
on the network to a great number of buyers at a maximum price.
An Intranet system will be used which links a certain number
of buyers situated in the coastal region of Meckenburg-Vorpommern
and big German cities, with buyers in France.
The company will also commercialise processed products.
In Norway all data on catches of vessels which belong to three
sales organisations are fed into a central server, which supplies
the data to buyers and offers the possibility to buy the fish
on board vessels. The landings take place at the chosen port
of the buyer.
Fish cast systems
With the view to improving the transparency for the first sale
of fresh fish, electronic fish cast systems have also been developed
providing fish marketing professionals with precise current supply
data and prices. A good example of such a system is applied in
Brittany, France where seven ports are linked by an information
network which covers the advanced landings for all ports, broken
down by species, size, quality, day of catch.
I should mention the system which is or will be in use during
1999, e.g. for the ports of Ijmuiden (NL), Ostende (B), Cancarneau
(Fr). Immarsat-C satellite messages about catches on board of
vessels are sent to electronic auctions for advanced information
for buyers. Several vessels are equipped with laptops which permit
all logbook data to be sent via Immarsat messages to the auctions.
Improved quality assessment methods
Successful electronic and particularly cross border trade requires
a continuous supply of high quality products in which a remote
buyer can have confidence, even if he has not seen the fish before
buying. The EU quality standards are based on subjective criteria,
such as smell, and are appropriate where the buyer can see the
fish and knows the local customs of grading.
The different electronic trade systems have the potential to enable
the buyer to obtain additional data to the EU quality standards
with a view to ensuring more objective assessment methods. The
new technology offers quick and precise information about the
vessel, the time and place of the catch, its handling on board,
the use of ice and so on. The industry therefore has now the possibility
itself of tackling the problem of improved quality assessment
methods, of tractability and correct labelling of fish.
- The reasons for education and training
The advantages of the electronic trade and information systems
may be summarised as follows:
- More transparency;
- Speeding-up of trade and port handling operations;
- Lower costs;
- More buyers leading to more balanced and stable prices;
- More competition;
- Better planning for buyers on the basis of complete and rapid
- Better logistics;
- Better management of fishery resources.
The initial sale of fishery products at auctions in the traditional
way or by contract is not able to have these advantages as it
is still a local or regional business with limited access and
without sufficient competition inside the EU. The electronic information
and trade systems remedy these disadvantages by creating a favourable
open transparent and competitive business environment, particularly
as regards the requirements of the first sale of fishery products
in view of increasing imports and the global challenge of an open
market. An electronic network between a number of auctions allows
the supply of ports with those species and sizes which are needed
even if the vessels concerned belong to other ports. Withdrawals
and fishing of species which do not correspond to the needs of
the market can be avoided. Logistics can be better integrated
in sales operation. Furthermore, the new forms of bridging between
buyers and sellers without the interference of unnecessary intermediaries
meets the specific challenges of the fishery sector.
The new electronic remote bidding systems are, despite their technical
differences, confronted with basic new challenges, such as organising
the correct grading and labelling of fish, the introduction and
management of uniform boxes, organising the financial transactions
and the transport of the fish sold, which very often is going
to new destinations.
Raising awareness about the advantages of the new technology and
related practical organisation problems are, from my point of
view, priorities. Psychological barriers and local business interests
against the use of the new technology can still be found in many
Member States. A training programme on ICT issues is therefore
of high practical importance.
Use of PC
- The contents of education and training programmes
The Member States or the competent regions are responsible for
the professional training of fishermen, tradesmen, processors
and retailers. The professional training programmes have not
been the subject of a harmonisation measure. The Commission can
only make recommendations in this area. However, training programmes
on ICT issues can be, under certain conditions, the subject of
structural aid granted by the Social Fund.
Taking into account the growing importance of ICT in general,
it seems to me advisable that the traditional professional training
programmes first of all include some kind of basic introduction
courses on the use of a PC (MS-Windows 98 or Win NT) including
specific programmes for accounting. All small and medium sized
enterprises in the fishing sector should, in the future, be capable
of using this technology for their daily work with a view to ensuring
that the gap between them and international operating companies,
already using this technology, does not become too great.
Internet and the www
The practical use of the Internet should be, particularly for
the small and medium sized enterprises in the fishery sector,
an additional main training topic. Information about the Internet
and the possibilities for its specific use in fish enterprises
should be included. The training programme could include e.g.:
Electronic Fish trading systems
- Organisation of the Internet;
- Trends and present possibilities of its use;
- Technical use of the Internet (MS Internet Explorer, use of
- E-mail, World Wide Web (www), File - Transfer (FT);
- Search engines;
- Available Data banks;
- Webserver and web directories;
- Use of address books;
- Introduction to E-commerce;
- Creation of a website inside the company;
- Search and finding of offers.
The fish market is vaguely spoken of as being composed of two
- Fresh products;
- Processed products (mainly frozen), conserves and marinades.
Furthermore, these markets differ according to the
main species e.g. the markets in white fish, shrimps and aquaculture
products have their specific characteristics. Training programmes
for the use of the electronic trading systems should therefore
first of all take into account the specific needs of the regional
fishing industry concerned.
Different electronic trading systems have been developed for the
first sale of fresh fish in Europe. The training programmes should
therefore be built up on the basic course on the use of Internet
and particularly cover:
- Information about the main features and functioning of the
electronic trading systems;
- Advantages in relation to traditional marketing;
- Trends of e-commerce in fish products;
- Technical and organisational conditions, hard- / software;
- Use of the different price information systems on the Internet
or Intranet with a view to taking advantage of the greater transparency
of the fish market;
- Training of the skippers on providing exact data of advanced
- Know-how for a high quality production, handling on board,
use of ice, (only high quality products can be marketed successfully
through electronic systems);
- Adaptation of fishing according to the demand of the market
through the use of electronics;
- Training of the port authorities on the use of electronic
systems, management of fish boxes, organisation of all practical
work including integrated transport systems;
- Financing; insurance.
Processed products, conserves and marinades are not sold at auctions
but traditionally by contract. Numerous companies world-wide,
are selling their products, already on the Internet. Furthermore,
private companies are offering general training programmes on
e-commerce. These training programmes for all kinds of products
are of interest to the fishing industry. However they should be
adapted to the specific requirements of the fishery sector.
The development of e-commerce is very dynamic. Recent developments
require up-to-date knowledge of how to successfully create a website,
offer a product on the Internet and start a promotional compaign.
Training programmes should therefore take into account these
developments and practical cases concerning fish companies.
ICT plays an important role in the development of the aquaculture
sector. While digital trading is not yet practised by the producers,
several electronic information systems have been developed in
Europe providing the sector with information on production, prices,
feeding programmes, disease protection and so on.
Also to be mentioned in the context of training: the Aqua Tnet
project (funded under the EU Socrates Programme) whose goal is
to develop and extend a higher education forum for the European
Tertiary education. It is mainly composed of academic partners.
The Aquarius project is providing Internet-based distance learning
and other telematic services for the aquaculture sector which
has been developed and managed by a consortium of Universities
and Telecom companies. It is principally based on academic contents
Aqua TT is the European Network for Training & Technology
Transfer within the European aquaculture Sector. It has been established
in 1992 under the EU Comett Programme. Over the last four years
a range of initiatives under various EU Programmes have been undertaken.
Projects have typically involved direct participation of members
in (i) student and staff trans-national mobility programmes provision
of short advanced training courses, development of training materials
and so on.
According to my information very few training courses have been
held for fish farmers in the past. In the framework of the Delta
project - dissemination of European learning and training
in aquaculture - a training course on computers in aquaculture
took place in the UK in 1997. The course is being updated and
may be held again in the year 2000. Companies such as Fishlink
(http//www.fishlink.co.uk) are trying to fill the training gap
by offering a service to design and host web pages for smaller
In my view, more attention in training programmes should be given
to the industry itself and particularly to the small enterprises.
For the most part, fish farmers only have a very basic knowledge
of computers. The above mentioned advantages of ICT in fisheries
are also valid for the aquaculture sector. Taking into account
the fact that the enterprises are dispersed and mostly situated
in peripheral areas notes the need to use ICT. The above training
programmes could be used under certain adaptations also for the
Affrontare il tema della "Formazione e Tecnologie dell'Informazione
e della Comunicazione nel settore della Pesca e dell'Acquacultura"
comporta l'analisi di tre punti.
- Lo stato dell'arte
La Direzione Generale della Pesca della Commissione Europea sta
promuovendo l'iniziativa MARSOURCE, sottoprogetto del programma
MARIS, che ha come obiettivo la promozione dell'uso dell'ICT presso
l'industria della pesca al fine di rinforzarne la competitività
nel mercato globale e creare nuovi servizi e posti di lavoro.
In tal senso la Commissione ha realizzato un sito internet, (www.marsource.maris.int)
sulla pesca contente tutti i dati sugli aspetti economici del
settore e dimostrazione sui benefici dell'utilizzo ICT da parte
delle imprese private che operano nella pesca.
Il commercio elettronico "business to business" di pesce
fresco è un altro esempio dell'utilizzo dell' ICT nel settore
della pesca. Questo tipo di commercio si è soprattutto
sviluppato nel nord Europa. In Germania tre porti e un impresa
francese fornitrice di prodotti informatici hanno creato una società
per commercializzare elettronicamente il pesce fresco proveniente
dal Mar Baltico.
Inoltre è stato sviluppato un sistema elettronico per il
monitoraggio del pesce appena pescato, che fornisce informazioni
in tempo reale sull'offerta e il prezzo del pescato, informazioni
utili soprattutto per i professionisti di marketing.
Questi diversi sistemi di commercio elettronico permettono una
maggiore circolazione delle informazioni sulla qualità
del pesce che viene messo sul mercato e pertanto la possibilità
di creare nuovi metodi per verificarne la qualità, la commercializzazione
e la catalogazione.
- Per quali ragioni promuovere la formazione
Le ragioni che portano alla promozione della formazione in questo
settore riguardano i grandi vantaggi che il commercio elettronico
e delle informazione apportano all'industria della pesca:
maggiore trasparenza, velocizzazione del commercio e delle operazioni
di sbarco, minori costi, maggiori acquirenti che portano prezzi
più stabili, maggiore competizione, migliore pianificazione
per gli acquirenti, migliore logistica, migliore gestione delle
- Quali contenuti per i programmi di formazione
I piani di formazione sono competenza degli Stati Membri o delle
regioni competenti e pertanto la Commissione Europea può
dare soltanto alcune raccomandazioni.
Prendendo in considerazione l'importanza dell'ICT, sembrerebbe
raccomandabile che i programmi di formazione professionale includessero,
prima di tutto, un'introduzione di base sull'uso del PC (MS Windows
98 o WIN NT), inclusi programmi specifici per la contabilità.
Inoltre, l'utilizzo concreto di Internet, informazioni sul suo
utilizzo nel settore della pesca, soprattutto per le piccole e
medie imprese; i diversi sistemi di commercio elettronico per
poter meglio comprendere le caratteristiche del mercato sia del
prodotto fresco che del prodotto trattato; come creare una pagina
web, offrire un prodotto su internet e come fare una campagna
promozionale sono tutti temi che dovrebbero essere oggetto di