The extension is too often seen as a means of disseminating scientific and technical progress and technology transfer. This narrow definition is very unsatisfactory. The dissemination of knowledge is not one-way: from scientific community to producers. Shellfish farming empirical knowledge shall also be identified, analyzed, enhanced, circulated and disseminated.
On the other hand producers need not only technical information. It is rare that a simple technical solution is sufficient to deal with the technical but also regulatory, economic, commercial, social and environmental aspects.
A business leader must have information on the legislative and regulatory framework, the market, and the demands of consumers. Making information more accessible is not sufficient to make it operated properly: at the different levels where they develop activities (farms, local unions, regional or national professional organizations), producers must be able to analyze their own constraints, search and test solutions, and choose from existing service offerings.
Shellfish extension should facilitate the interactions and develop synergies within a global information system which should help authorities, coastal land communities, applied research, education and training and a broad set of economic operators. By improving the individual and collective producers’ initiative capabilities, this facilitation will in the short term a better match to the constraints of the shellfish farmers, in the middle term it will fill progressively the gap between science and producers, and in the long term it will structure the sector by a continuous search for innovation.