The CERC Short Term Research Placement award in 2014 funded site visits for two research projects in Vietnam. Goals of these pilot projects were to describe mortality events in marine finfish aquaculture in the Cat Ba area, and red tilapia cultured in the Mekong Delta. Secondary goals were to build collaborative relationships with research partners at the Research Institute for Aquaculture No. 1 (RIA1) in Northern Vietnam and Can Tho University (CTU) in Southern Vietnam, and to build professional credibility with local farmers.
Before both projects began, we visited the field areas and discussed project setup with our collaborators. Both projects were initiated shortly before our arrival and had a planned data collection phase lasting up to one year. This timing allowed us to anticipate problems and potential bottlenecks near the start of the study period in order to make effective changes, as needed, to improve data integrity. We visited the field components in collaboration with our research partners and introduced our Vietnamese collaborators to the interactive data entry methods we use, so that we could assess the data and identify (potential) abnormalities in real time, from Canada.
The farmers welcomed our involvement in the project and the interaction during the visits facilitated key improvements in the data collection. The Cat Ba project included a subsequent questionnaire near the end of the project, which capitalized on our discussions with collaborators and field visits during this trip.