6. Knowledge Management

Reports from Work Package 6: Please click on the report number to view



Report on short course on knowledge management for fisheries and on fisheries livelihoods

Understanding the implications of knowledge management for fisheries in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry


This Work Package focused on the challenges of building the capabilities of stakeholders to play the roles required of them in order to support the sustainable and economic development of the fisheries sector. A key activity was research into knowledge management in the fisheries sector, designed to raise awareness about the importance of information and knowledge in fisheries management and to identify ways that better knowledge management can improve the performance of the sector. The flow of information and influence was also analysed and conceptualized in the graphic below.


  1. Discussions & research on knowledge management for fisheries under FIMSUL highlighted importance of this area for the future of fisheries and for successful fisheries management.

  2. New knowledge – from stakeholders, institutions and researchers – needs to be generated, shared and used more effectively.

  3. Knowledge governance needs to improve – the way in which knowledge and information moves between stakeholders in the sector, those who provide services to the sector and the institutions who make rules, policies and provide guidance for the sector as a whole.

  4. Creating a more active demand for knowledge (from stakeholders, service providers and policy-makers) means developing more of a “knowledge culture” – where knowledge is freely available and accessible; and people value it.

  5. In the future, if the sector is to be better managed and its performance improved, ensuring that knowledge is more readily available in appropriate forms and that mechanisms are in place to enable all stakeholders and institutions in the sector to make effective use of it, will be key.

  6. Establishment of mechanisms that allow better interaction and exchange between fisheries stakeholders and concerned institutions is liable to provide an essential mechanism for improved knowledge exchange.

  7. The case study carried out at the Tamil Nadu Department of Fisheries helped to understand and illustrate these points.

7.1 Overview

    • The fisheries department currently has two major thrusts - increasing production and uplifting fishers by welfare measures. Performance is based on fishery production targets and beneficiary numbers and amounts disbursed for welfare schemes; success of a scheme is measured more by its demand rather than analysing whether it meets requirements or has made a difference

    • Data on catch is regularly collected but is not fully used to inform decision and policy-making.

    • Demand for other, diverse forms of information is limited.

7.2 Strengths of the Department

    • Dates back to 1907, strong foundations, potentially excellent library

    • Staff trained on all aspects of the fisheries sector; Staff training institute

    • A separate research department although its’ activities are currently limited

    • Mid and senior staff meet regularly though it is more for reviewing progress of schemes

    • Annual reports with extensive data, Department census provides additional data

    • A neat website with reasonable details that can be quickly accessed

7.3 Weaknesses

    • Insufficient staff leading to overload, lack of time to update knowledge

    • Decision making through fairly rigid bureaucratic hierarchical lines

    • Influence from stakeholders more for current schemes rather than to shape future strategies. No formal mechanisms to include stakeholder requirements / feedback

    • There are weak incentives for communication and weak emphasis on validation and analysis; high reliance on implicit knowledge and consequent doubts regarding the quality of data and information available

    • The scope of data and information collected is very limited and is determined by policy priorities of production, technical development and welfare schemes.

    • An absence of influence from the DoF in the research and other activities of other departments/ institutions and limited access to the information collected by others.

    • There are no (apparent) incentives / opportunities for learning & understanding about newer threats to the fishing sector and the challenge of facilitating and catalysing change and improved management in the sector.


Enhance the information flow system by restructuring the Research department at the DoF to function as the Knowledge Management Division

1) Position the library and the statistics division as two additional arms

  • The library’s portfolio to be expanded to include an e-repository

  • An e-news bulletin on fisheries to be produced and circulated to all staff

  • Regulation updating of the website to reflect current activities

2) Improving the Demand for Knowledge in terms of breadth and clarity

  • Improving the articulation of current policy objectives and DoF services

a) Statistics wing to ensure data collection, validation and analysis of data collected from the field

b) Create a process to ensure the use of this knowledge in making the decisions required to meet various objectives defined in the policy notes

3) Improving the Capacity of the DoF Staff to Assimilate, Understand and Respond to Information

  • Staff training college to offer quality improvement programmes in Project Management and Planning, Time Management and ensuring computer literacy

  • Modifying Staff diaries to include reflections on lessons learnt and new ideas;

  • Supporting staff exchanges and study tours;

  • Staff focus groups to work through particular issues

  • Platforms for formal and regular interaction of stakeholders with the DoF

  • E groups with wider participation

4) Proactive interactions with other line departments and institutions

  • Ensuring that all meetings with other departments are well participated with articulations supported by real-time data

  • Influencing fisheries related research and developing a more active partnership with research and academic institutions