The Mediterranean Region


Bernardo Basurco1and Hadj Ali2
1 Instituto Agronomico Mediterraneo de Zaragoza,
Apartado 202, 50080 Zaragoza, Spain
2System of Information for the Promotion of
Aquaculture in the Mediterranean (SIPAM)
30, Rue Alain Savary 1002 TUNIS, TUNISIA

The Mediterranean Region - TECAM, SELAM and SIPAM Activities

Three international networks involving partnerships between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and national institutions are now operational. The TECAM (Technology of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean), SELAM (Socio-economic and Legal Aspects of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean) and SIPAM (System of Information for the Promotion of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean) networks are placed under the aegis of the Committee on Aquaculture of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM).

The TECAM and SELAM networks are coordinated by CIHEAM, which has, since 1995, organized and implemented the activities through the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (IAMZ), in collaboration with the FAO and other Mediterranean institutions.

TECAM Survey on Mediterranean aquaculture diagnistic laboratories conducted by the the CIHEAM-IAMZ and the FAO

As regards the field of aquaculture health management, several activities have been organized in recent years under the TECAM network i.e., a Seminar on Disease Diagnosis and Control of Mediterranean Cultured Fishes (Malta, 20-24 March 1995) and a Short Practical Course on Fish Health Management (Udine, Italy, 27 January - 7 February 1997). During the discussions held during the above mentioned activities, it was pointed out, that in order to make aquaculture health management more effective, it is necessary to acquire greater knowledge on the pathogens and diseases that are affecting Mediterranean aquaculture, as well as on the main diagnostic procedures that are in use in the region.

Now, as an important step, the TECAM network is launching a project study aimed to acquire greater knowledge about the Mediterranean laboratories working on the diagnosis of diseases of fish and shellfish. The survey is being organized by CIHEAM through the IAMZ (CIHEAM-IAMZ) and the FAO, through the Fisheries Department.

With the collaboration of some experts, Dr. Frank Berthe (IFREMER, France) and Prof. Alicia Toranzo and Prof. Juan Barja (University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain), three survey questionnaires were prepared and distributed to previously identified laboratories, and about 50 survey replies have already been received from key public and private laboratories in different Mediterranean countries (i.e., Croatia, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Tunisia and Turkey).

Following the analysis of the survey replies, a directory of Mediterranean laboratories working on the diagnosis of fish and shellfish diseases will be prepared and published in a special volume of the CIHEAM journal "Options Mediterranéennes." The publication will also include a reference report about existing diseases and pathogens and their prevalences and distributions in Mediterranean aquaculture.

TECAM advanced course on Aquaculture Fish Breeding Programmes, Zaragoza, Spain, 2 - 6 April 2001

The course took place from 2 to 6 April 2001, at the IAMZ, Zaragoza, Spain. The course, which is included within the activities of TECAM, was organized by the CIHEAM, through the IAMZ, with the collaboration of the FAO, through the Fisheries Department. The participants included 32 experts from 11 countries (Albania, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Kingdom) belonging to private hatcheries, research institutions, universities, and administration. Among the guest speakers were: B. Basurco (CIHEAM), C. Batargias (Greece), H.B. Bentsen (Norway), D. Mylonas (Greece), L. Colombo (Italy), B. Gjerde, (Norway), P. Haffray (France), A. Riaza (Spain), M. Toro (Spain) and B. Villanueva (UK).

The main objective of the course was to acquaint participants with the principles and elements underlying genetic improvement programs. Through the different lectures, the requirements to establish and develop such programs were reviewed. To this end, the course covered aspects about the reproductive biology of fish and its implications in breeding programs. Basic quantitative genetics, genetic improvement tools and strategies, design of genetic mprovement programs and the role of innovative biotechniques in fish breeding were also addressed. The course was specially focused on the two main Mediterranean cultured finfish species, namely European sea bass and gilthead sea bream.

Tecam advanced course on Mediterranean offshore mariculture, Zaragoza, Spain, 28 May - 2 June 2001

The course was organized by the CIHEAM, through the IAMZ, with the collaboration of the FAO, through the Fisheries Department and took place at the IAMZ in Zaragoza. The course was given by well-qualified lecturers from research centers, universities and private companies in different countries.

The course was held over a period of one week, from 28 May to 2 June 2001, in morning and afternoon sessions. The aim was to provide participants with the most recent knowledge available on offshore mariculture, with special emphasis on the Mediterranean, and the course included sessions on the status of offshore farming, site evaluation, systems review, net technology, management and economics. The course caters to a maximum of 25 professionals with a university degree who are already directly involved in the subject matter. Preference is given to farm managers with technical and financial responsibilities and other professionals involved in the development of offshore farming.

Seminar on Seafood Market Studies for the Introduction of New Aquaculture Products, Zaragoza, Spain,
21 - 22 June 2001

This seminar was planned as a joint activity between the EU-Concerted (European Union) Action MASMANAP (Methodology for Seafood Market Studies with the Aim of Introducing New Aquaculture Products) and the SELAM Network. It was organized at the end of MASMANAP (a 30-month project), with the aim of disseminating its results, and it is also the continuation of previous activities of the SELAM network in this field. It was jointly organized by the EU-Concerted Action MASMANAP, the CIHEAM-IAMZ and the Fisheries Department of the FAO.

The seminar reviewed the evolution of the main European seafood markets. The main lines of what could be relevant market studies were discussed, and the common work was used to identify the most important seafood consumption data that have to be collected as a support to the market studies. Research priorities were underlined in order to obtain relevant data, to learn how to analyze them and to propose recommendations for a seafood market study with the aim of introducing new aquaculture products. The seminar addressed professionals with a university degree who already have experience and a deep knowledge of the aquaculture sector.

5th Annual Sipam Meeting, Istanbul, Turkey, 8-12, November 2000

The 5th annual SIPAM meeting took place in Istanbul, Turkey from 8-12 November, 2000. Fourteen countries already SIPAM members and two new SIPAM member countries (Lebanon and Romania) were represented by their National Co-ordinators. FAO was represented by Manuel Martinez, Coppola Rino (Fisheries Department) and Mario Pedini (FAO, Secretary of the GFCM Committee of Aquaculture). The main issues discussed were how to:

  • Profit from the available data (more than10 000 entries);
  • Improve data quality;
  • Improve the visibility of SIPAM; and
  • Establish and organize national networks in order to expand SIPAM within the member countries and to reach more end-users.

During the meeting, a new release (more advanced) of SIPAM for Windows software (Version 2.3) was distributed, as well as a brochure and a CD-Rom (for SIPAM presentation and demonstration).

Other Recent SIPAM Activities

SIPAM Expansion

Algeria and Libya are now officially linked to SIPAM, and the network was already been demonstrated and set up within the premises of the Marine Resources Wealth Centre in Tajura, Libya. The two new countries expected to join SIPAM during 2001 are Lebanon and Romania. SIPAM was installed in Romania last March, 2001 during the visit of the SIPAM Regional Co-ordinator.

Lebanon will be visited soon, and SIPAM will be also set up within the Ministry of Agriculture in Beyrouth.

SIPAM for Windows 2.3

The version 2.2 was improved by the SIPAM Regional Centre in Tunis according to the requirements expressed by the SIPAM National Co-ordinators during a meeting held in Malta from 24-28 November 1999). The new version is likely to allow the National Co-ordinators to set up locations (up to nine) within their own countries in order to enhance the data flow among the SIPAM end-users. It also includes other improvements making the software closer to the specific needs of its end-users.

Regional Database New Release

The first issue of the SIPAM Regional Database for 2001 was prepared using the new software (Version 2.3) and released in early April, 2001. It includes more than 10 000 records shared by 13 specialized databases: Statistics (3), Directories (4), Laws and Regulations (2), Pathology (1),Bibliography (1), Research/Development Programmes (1) and National Reports (1).

SIPAM Brochure

The SIPAM Brochure exists in four languages: English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Additionally, Morocco is expected to finance the design and editing of an Arabic version, whose wording has already been made available by the SIPAM Regional Centre in Tunis.

SIPAM Reports

Reports on production statistics (for 1995 to 1999), suppliers, experts and aquaculture research institutes in the Mediterranean countries are made available by the SIPAM Regional Centre.

2001 Program of Activities

The main issues included within the 2001/ early 2002 program are as follows:

  • Creating and maintaining a SIPAM web page;
  • Improving SIPAM outputs by data analysis and editing of reports;
  • Strengthening linkages with similar networks and other specialized bodies;
  • Progressing within the framework of SIPAM legal agreement issues;
  • Furthering the two specialized databases on aquatic animal pathology and aquaculture products marketing, jointly with CIHEAM, which is in charge of TECAM and SELAM.

New Asia Regional Aquaculture, Officer at RAPI

Dr. Simon Funge-Smith has been appointed Regional Aquaculture Officer in FAO's Regional Asia-Pacific Office in Bangkok, effective 1 July 2001.

Dr. Funge-Smith has lived and worked in the Asian Region for the past 10 years and brings with him extensive experience of both brackish and freshwater aquaculture. From 1991-1995, he conducted field studies researching the environmental and management issues relating to sustainability in brackishwater shrimp farms in Thailand, as part of an Overseas Development Agency (ODA)/University of Stirling field project. During 1996-1997, Dr. Funge-Smith was engaged in technical consultancies for FAO in PR China, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He was also engaged in commercial aquaculture consultancy in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. As a Chief Technical Advisor, Dr. Funge-Smith spent three years working in Lao PDR on an FAO/United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Rural Aquaculture Extension Project, focussing on mechanisms for appropriate aquaculture development for subsistence farmers. Dr. Funge-Smith has also worked in Cambodia, Vietnam and Lao PDR as a consultant for the Mekong River Commission's (MRC) Aquaculture of Indigenous Mekong Species (AIMS) component. Although officially designated Regional Aquaculture Officer, Dr. Funge-Smith also has responsibility for inland fisheries in the region, which is a natural linkage, since much of the Asia-Pacific Region's aquaculture activities are related to inland fisheries issues. There is a wealth of regional institutions and organizations already closely involved with aquaculture and inland fisheries, and part of Dr. Funge-Smith's role is to develop or strengthen linkages with these organizations. In this capacity, he will be a focal point for FAO activities in aquaculture and inland fisheries and welcomes any communication that FAN readers might wish to have regarding coordination or collaboration with FAO in these subsectors.

Dr. Funge-Smith can be contacted at:
FAO Asia-Pacific Regional Office (RAP)
39 Phra Atit Road
Bangkok 10200,