Tanzania to double tilapia production
Above: Ambitious plans to grow aquaculture industry
TANZANIA has ambitious plans to develop a better aquaculture sector by doubling its production of tilapia. Tilapia, second only to carp as the world’s most frequently
farmed fish, live in huge numbers in the Great Lakes (Victoria, Tanganyika, Malawi/ Nyasa) that cover six per cent of the country. But at the moment,
tilapia farming in Tanzania is mostly for subsistence or for small-scale markets and often uses non-native species, such as Nile tilapia. To develop an aqua-
culture strategy, 30 scientists representing Tanzanian stakeholders, as well as international research organisations, met for a three-day workshop in Zanzibar.
The main outcome was a new consortium, committed to establishing a National Aquaculture Development Centre (NADC). The NADC could help triple the contribution that aquaculture makes to the economy, double the production of fish in the country by 2025 and improve access to fish as a protein source - especially for women. Tilapia species from a broad range of ecosystems - including lakes, river systems, reservoirs and fish ponds across the country - will form the focus of the research.
Genetic analysis of 31 species, including 26 that are found nowhere else on the planet, could reveal important traits for creating the country’s own commercial broodstock. Charles Mahika, of Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, said: ‘We have a chance to increase our country’s share in aquaculture’s blue revolution, an industry growing faster than any other food production sector in the world. ‘Tilapia production could help meet the nutritional demands of our growing population.’
US to open Pacific to farmers AMERICAN officials are reportedly working on a plan to expand fish farming into federal waters around the Pacific Ocean. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is creating a plan to manage commercial fish farms in federal waters, the area of ocean from three to 200 miles offshore, around Hawaii and other Pacific islands. The programme is similar to one recently implemented by NOAA in the Gulf of Mexico and would help the US reduce its dependence on imported seafood, which currently accounts for more than 90 pent of fish and shellfish consumed in the States. New technologies are being developed for open-ocean aquaculture, but many US companies are having to go overseas to farm, according to NOAA officials. ‘The US’s view is we’d rather have these US companies pursuing these opportunities in a sustainable, environmentally sound way in the US,’ said Michael Tosatto, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service regional administrator. The NOAA plan would create a regulatory and
World News.indd 12
permitting scheme for the industry. ‘It’s reasonably common knowledge that the environmental laws are less where aquaculture occurs the most, (that) being China and other South-East Asia countries,’ Tosatto said. Many foreign operations have US companies supplying the breed stock, then the fish are grown and sold back to the US as imported seafood. Farmed fish in 2014 was valued at $1.3 billion, Tosatto said, and constitutes just 19 per cent of the nation’s seafood production. That amounts to only one per cent of the global farmed product. NOAA has been trying to establish an aquaculture industry in federal waters for many years,
but attempts to get legislation to implement open-sea aquaculture have failed. ‘All forms of aquaculture can be done responsibly or irresponsibly,’ said Michael Rubino, NOAA aquaculture programme director. ‘We will need all forms done well to meet seafood demand and healthy ocean objectives.’
Serving Worldwide Aquaculture Since 1977