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Developing sustainable aquaculture in Angola

The African nation of Angola, thanks to its favourable environmental conditions and available water resources, has excellent potential for aquaculture development, which currently accounts for only a modest percentage of the country’s total production
Participants at the meeting between the Angolan government and FAO at Angola’s Ministry of Fisheries, in Luanda
Aerial view using a drone for field assessments of fish ponds at Quinta Cariota farm. Angola is the first country in Africa to use drones to facilitate reconnaissance field work for aquaculture site selection

Due to its favourable environmental conditions and available water resources, the southern African nation of Angola has excellent potential for freshwater and marine aquaculture development.

Most emphasis on fisheries in the country until now has been  concentrated on marine capture fisheries, and the fishing sector is the third most important sector for the Angolan economy, following the oil and diamond industries.

Currently, Angolan aquaculture production remains relatively modest, with an estimated 305 tonnes of production of mostly Nile tilapia, according to 2014 statistics published by FAO.

This limited aquaculture production also translates into poor availability of quality fish seed and feed available and limited technical capacity in the region, areas that would require improvement to expand the sector.   

However, a domestic market to support expanded aquaculture production already exists. Fish consumption in Angola was approximately 18.6 kg per capita in 2013, representing about 29% of total animal protein intake in the country. This compares against an annual global average nearing 20 kg per capita, and an African average of only 9.8 kg per capita.

The Government of Angola is now looking at ways to strengthen the aquaculture sector in the country.

According to Victoria de Barros Neto, Minister for Fisheries of the Republic of Angola , development of aquaculture in the country is one of the main priorities of the Angolan government in its programme to fight hunger, malnutrition and to diversify an  economy that is heavily dependent on crude oil exports.  

For this reason, spatial planning for aquaculture could greatly help in the identification, analysis and allocation of specific areas for aquaculture development.

According to Mamoudou Diallo, FAO Representative in Angola, “We’re pleased to see this prioritization of aquaculture development in the country, in keeping with priorities identified under the country programming framework.

We believe that the development of the aquaculture sector could reduce by one-fourth the dependence on sea fishing, thereby supporting more sustainable and responsible fisheries. 

Furthermore, we believe development of the sector could help create employment throughout the entire value chain: from production through to processing, distribution and sales.”

In Angola, as in many countries around the world where aquaculture is new, a comprehensive and coordinated spatial plan is needed to secure an adequate allocation of space in waters and land for sustainable growth of aquaculture in order to facilitate development actions.

As part of an FAO project, “Spatial Planning of Aquaculture Zones in the Republic of Angola”, Angola and FAO are currently working together to  identify the most promising zones for aquaculture development

A meeting on 24 March 2016 at the Ministry of Fisheries in Angola’s capital of Luanda, presented the results of the first phase of this project to Victoria de Barros Neto, Minister for Fisheries of the Republic of Angola and Maria Antónia Nelumba, Secretary of State for Fisheries,  along with staff from the ministries of fisheries; environment; agriculture; construction and housing; family and gender promotion and education.

The meeting was also attended by the private sector and civil society; organizations, potential donors, such as  the World Bank, and Mamoudou Diallo, FAO Representative in Angola, alongside  FAO Fisheries technical officers, in order to discuss next steps for the project.

Fish plays an important role in the Angolan diet. Annual fish consumption in Angola was approximately 18.6 kg per capita in 2013, representing about 29% of total animal protein intake in the country. This compares to an African average of only 9.8 kg per capita

“This has been exciting for us to present results from this project, and to discuss with government officials the next steps,” said José Aguilar-Manjarrez, Aquaculture Officer in FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. “Cross-sectoral dialogue for moving forward on this project was perhaps the greatest achievement.

This interdisciplinary decision-making is crucial for aquaculture development to grow in a sustainable way, and in a manner that will most benefit the rural populations they are intended to help.”

Angola is one of the first African countries to implement an ecosystem approach to aquaculture and spatial planning.

It is also one of the few countries in Africa to identify the most promising zones for aquaculture development at a national level through a participatory process with relevant stakeholders, and has produced the most complete aquaculture inventory on the African continent to show the location of existing and planned aquaculture farms and their characteristics.

It is also the first country in Africa to use an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a “drone”, to facilitate reconnaissance field work for aquaculture site selection.

Areas for the project’s second phase are currently being identified. Some of the main activities under discussion are: consultation with stakeholders about the allocation of potential zones for aquaculture, broad carrying capacity estimation for aquaculture zones, and risk mapping and analysis of selected zones.

Efforts in this second phase will also focus on the development of a competitive feed for tilapia production, and market studies on the demand of potentially suitable farm species, particularly in terms of product pricing and outlet identification.

For additional information, please see the FAO Angola press release: Stepping up aquaculture development and production in Angola

Angolan Ministry officials participate in the Luanda workshop about progress of the first phase of the “Spatial Planning of Aquaculture Zones in the Republic of Angola” project
This aerial view photo was taken using a drone for field assessments of fish cages at NL2 farm as part of an FAO project, “Spatial Planning of Aquaculture Zones in the Republic of Angola”
This satellite image from Google earth is of the Mazwela e Filhos fish farm in Angola. Satellite imagery plays an important role in spatial planning of aquaculture zones
This Google earth satellite image that shows larval rearing in Massangano, Angola

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