FISHY TALES TEACH PACIFIC KIDS

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CANADA-SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (C-SPOD) Apia, Samoa

NEWS RELEASE March 28, 2001 Suva, Fiji Islands

TO HANDLE SEAFOOD SAFELY

Pacific primary school children are learning to properly handle seafood through a series of Canadian-funded storybooks aimed to improve hygiene and reduce sickness, as they trace a fish's journey from the fisherman's net to the family dinner table.

The books, released late last year, teach kids how to tell a good fish from a bad fish, the nutritional value of seafood as part of a healthy diet, and explain the concept of bacteria as an agent of spoilage and illness.

Best of all, it's in a language that kids can understand: "Let me see...eyes bright and shiny, skin firm not slimy, good fresh color, no smelly guts inside -- it's a beauty!"

Tony Chamberlain, author of On the Other Hand, The Very Best, and Smart Shopper, is the post-harvest fisheries lecturer at the University of the South Pacific's (USP) marine studies program. Chamberlain specifically targeted primary school children because they are more receptive to learning new habits and it is an excellent way to help them as they learn English.

"We found that older people do not change their ways readily and that workshops seem to have only short-term impacts," Chamberlain says. "By focusing on primary school children, it is hoped that the awareness raising materials will be incorporated and used as teaching resources, and that there will be long-term impacts as the children grow and have more input in their communities."

So far, the books have been distributed to many primary schools in Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tokelau, and Vanuatu.

Chamberlain says the next step will be the development of a series of modules that he hopes will be incorporated into national science studies for the Pacific's secondary students.

The post-harvest fisheries development project is funded by the Canada-South Pacific Ocean Development (C-SPOD) program. C-SPOD, Canada's $28-million commitment to the Pacific islands nations over 14 years, funds USP projects in marine studies, including graduate student scholarships, and the aquaculture training program.

C-SPOD is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and coordinated by the South Pacific Forum Secretariat and LGL Limited, Canada.

All C-SPOD projects are designed to ensure equity and balanced benefits for all Pacific Islanders.

For more information about C-SPOD go to www.c-spodp.org

Contact: Naomi Johnson Media Relations Officer Canada South Pacific Ocean Development (C-SPOD) Program, Phase II SPREP P.O. Box 240 Apia, Samoa Tel: (685) 21 929 Fax: (685) 20231 Email: naomij@sprep.org.ws Web: www.c-spodp.org 

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