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29 November 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 14:44 GMT+1



FEMAR CONFERENCE
Future Educational Challenges for Maritime Information Society
Il ruolo della formazione e delle tecnologie dell'informazione
per lo sviluppo dell'economia marittima
    COMMISSIONE EUROPEA
REGIONE LIGURIA
MARIS
In collaborazione con
AMRIE e con il Forum MARIS di Genova


EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN THE FISHERY AND AQUACULTURE SECTOR ON ICT ISSUES



ALBERT HÜCHTKER

Capo Unità - Direzione Generale Pesca Commissione Europea

Introduction

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 aqualculture sector;
  • The reasons for education and training;
  • The possible content of education and training programmes on ICT issues.


  1. Recent developments of ICT in the fishery and aquaculture sector

Generalities

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 jobs.

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.


  1. 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 information;
  • 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.

  1. The contents of education and training programmes
Use of PC

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.:

  • Organisation of the Internet;
  • Trends and present possibilities of its use;
  • Technical use of the Internet (MS Internet Explorer, use of Browser);
  • E-mail, World Wide Web (www), File - Transfer (FT);
  • Newsgroups;
  • 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.
Electronic Fish trading systems

The fish market is vaguely spoken of as being composed of two different markets:

  • 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.

Fresh products

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; administration;
  • 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 landings;
  • 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

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.

Aquaculture

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 and issues.

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 producers.

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 aquaculture sector.



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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 risorse.

  1. 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 insegnamento.


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