Malaysia explores MIís fisheries training expertise
By Kimberley Thornhill
Representatives from the Malaysian government visited Memorialís Marine Institute recently to discuss the redevelopment of the Malaysian fisheries sector. Here, Glenn Blackwood, director of the MIís Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, speaks with the Malaysian delegation about how MI is assisting the international fishing industry in fisheries conservation and gear technology research.
It was a case of east meets west as the Marine Institute hosted senior officials from the government of Malaysia to discuss how MI can help redevelop the countryís fisheries sector.
Recent policy shifts in Malaysia has seen the reemergence of agriculture and fisheries as the countryís leading growth sectors for its economy. Malaysiaís Ministry of Agriculture and its Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) are introducing several major projects to restructure their fishing industry.
One of the nationís most ambitious goals is to create a new international marine institute to train its industryís harvesters and processors.
Thatís where MI comes in. Last September, the Malaysian government contacted the Marine Institute, through its MI International office, to discuss partnering to build fisheries training capability in Malaysia. MI International has worked extensively in Asia over the last 15 years lending its knowledge and skills of the fishery sector through training, technical assistance and human resource development.
A 17-member delegation were in St. Johnís recently to examine how MI can be used as a model to organize the training school. This is the fourth exchange visit between the two groups since exploratory talks began last year.
During the two-day tour, MI introduced the delegation to some of the provinceís most influential fisheries people including Fishery Products International CEO Derek Rowe and CCFIís Alistair OíReilly. Minister of Education Tom Hedderson also welcomed the Malaysians to the province.
Bill Chislett, director of MI International, says MIís global experience in institutional development and its world-class training and research facilities impressed the delegation. ďThe delegation was particularly impressed with the model of responsive training programs designed in close collaboration with industry,Ē he said.
As a result of this round of discussions, MI expects to sign a memorandum of understanding this summer with the Malaysian government outlining the general terms for collaboration.
ďAs a first step MI has agreed to design a number of responsive training modules for the Malaysian fisheries sector,Ē said Mr. Chislett. That training, which will probably last at least six weeks, will be completed here in Newfoundland.Ē
An agreement that will outline the objectives for a long-term training initiative as well as delivery timelines is to be signed by the end of the year.