Aquaculture Newsletter

(August 1996 Number 13)

Projects and Other Activities

M. Pedini, Z. Shehadeh and R. Subasinghe

CIHEAM/FAO Training Course on Food and Feeding of Farmed Fish and Shrimp

A regional advanced training course on Food and Feeding of Farmed Fish and Shrimp for North Africa and the Mediterranean" was held at the Landmark Hotel in Alexandria, Egypt, from 5 to 16 May 1996 as one of the activities of the Network on Technology of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean (TECAM; coordinated by the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM)]. The training course was organized as a joint activity between the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (CIHEAM-IAMZ), FAO (FIRI), the University of Alexandria, and the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries of Egypt.

A total of 27 trainees from 12 countries attended the training course (Algeria-2, Croatia-1, Egypt-9, Greece-2, Lebanon-1, Morocco-1, Palestine-1, Portugal-2, Saudi Arabia-1, Spain-2, Tunisia-2, and Turkey-3).

The major issues, relating to aquaculture nutrition and feed development, raised by the participants during their country presentations can be summarized as follows:

For each of the above mentioned actions, a team leader was selected by the trainees to draw up a plan of action by the group. A three month time limit was set to draft the three individual action plans for consideratio by the group and by potential donors.

FAO/EIFAC Workshop on Fish and Crustacean Nutrition Methodology and Research for Semi-Intensive Pond-Based Farming Systems

The workshop was held in Szarvas, Hungary, from 3-5 April 1996 with 53 participants coming from 14 countries in attendance (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldavia, Poland, Romania, Turkey, UK, USA, and Viet Nam), with the bulk of participants from East European countries. The purpose of the workshop was: (a) to collate information on the known dietary nutrient requirements and feeding strategies for the main species cultured in semi-intensive farming systems within the EIFAC region, (b) to identify constraints and research needs, (c) to compare existing methodologies for determining dietary nutrient requirements and for evaluating compound feeds under semi-intensive pond farming conditions, and (d) to recommend guidelines as necessary.

The Workshop was divided into six consecutive technical sessions, namely 1) natural food, supplementary feeding, feeding regimes, 2) amino acid, protein and mineral requirements, 3) vitamins, trace minerals and fatty acids, 4) crustacean feeding, 5) product quality evaluation, and 6) economics and environmental impacts of fish culture. A total of 5 keynote papers, 15 experience papers and 10 posters were presented.

Some of the main conclusions and recommendations can be summarized as follows:

FAO Expert Consultation on Small Scale Aquaculture Development

The consultation was convened in Rome, Italy on 28-31 May 1996. It was attended by 10 invited external experts, one expert from SIDA, nine staff members from the Fisheries Department, and five staff members from other FAO departments. The meeting was organized in four thematic sessions and a concluding session. Discussions were based on an overview background paper, four thematic background papers and four information papers.

Among its various conclusions and recommendations, the consultation suggested that FAO:

It was also generally agreed that small-scale rural aquaculture was far more readily adopted by the wealthier , more entrepreneurial members of rural communities. This has often lead to the failure of aquaculture development programmes in the past, in the sense that benefits did not accrue to pre-selected target groups. While every effort should continue to be made to evelop low-input, low-cost aquaculture technology accessible to the poorer strata of rural communities, a deliberate focus on the poorest of the poor may not always be appropriate.

The proceedings and background papers of the consultation will be published and distributed by FAO.


In April/May 1996, Dr. James Turnbull, a shrimp pathologist from the Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, UK, visited the FAO Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) - Shrimp Health Management in Luannan County (TCP/CPR 4558), as consultant to the project. His duties were to acquire information on health aspects of shrimpfarming in Luannan County, set up an experimental site for testing and demonstrating alternate, more sustainable production methods, and to conduct a one-week training course on shrimp health management techniques used in South East Asia.

The consultant recommended that the Thai closed recirculation system should be tested at the experimental site and this should significantly reduce the possibility of introducing white patch virus to the system. However, as emphasized during the training course, reduced water exchange requires much more sophisticated management techniques and more resources.

The consultant provided information to local producers on sustainable farming methods used in SE Asia and attempted to find a compromise between SE Asian and local methods of shrimp farming which may be more suitable for Luannan County. Finalization of a new farming strategy will have to await the results of the first production cycle in the experimental system, including an economic cost benefit analysis. It was pointed out that despite the best efforts of the project staff, the viral disease may result in limited production from the experimental site. Nevertheless, data from the site will help in evaluating some of the farming options for use in the county and should therefore be assessed primarily on the quality of the data it produces and not solely on final production.


The aquaculture sub-sector in Cuba has undergone significant changes recently, producing about 20, 000 metric tonnes (mt) of fish per year in the last five years and increasing its contribution to the local diet. The main commodity is tilapia, produced through put and take fisheries in the many small reservoirs which have been built in the country. Production of silver carp has also increased rapidly, from 200 mt in 1984 to over 6,800 mt in 1994. In view of the increasing importance of the sub-sector and the rapid pace of recent developments, the Government has requested assistance from the FAO for the preparation of a national strategy for aquaculture development and mechanisms for its implementation. Two missions to Cuba have been approved to assist the government in this task under the Fisheries Management and Law Advisory Programme (FIMLAP) funded by NORAD (Norway). The first mission, composed of an economist/planner and two aquaculturists, was fielded in July 1996.


A new TCP, Supporting Services to Aquaculture Development (TCP/CYP/5611), has been approved for implementation by the Ministry of Agiculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, Department of Fisheries, Cyprus and the FAO. The project is designed to assist the Government to address urgent issues in aquaculture development which have surfaced in the course of the recent growth of mariculture in the country. Issues requiring urgent attention are related to fish health and nutrition, and quality control and inspection of aquaculture products (to meet EC standards). In the area of fish health, the project will strengthen the capabilities of the Department of Veterinary Services in the prevention, identification, and control of fish diseases. The fish nutrition component will assess the feasibility of producing aquafeeds through the local feed industry, in order to replace imports and reduce production costs, and help upgrade local technical competence in fish nutrition and feed technology, particularly in experimental work. With respect to inspection and control of fish and fish products, the project will strengthen national capacity to formulate and implement a national HACCP-based quality assurance programme in the fisheries and the aquaculture sectors, through provision of information and staff training. Since the work of the consultants on quality control and pathology will have legal implications in respect of the eventual modification of laws and regulations, an international legal expert will also be sent to the country to assist government staff in the drafting of appropriate regulations along the recommendations and findings of the other consultants. The project, which has a duration of nine months, started in July 1996.


The recently approved TCP project, Masterplan for Fisheries and Fish Culture (TCP/GUI/4560), is intended to assist the Government of Guinea to prepare a strategy for the fisheries sector. The first multidisciplinary mission, including a consultant for aquaculture development, visited the country from 10 March to end of April 1996. The strategy for a medium term programme (5-7 years), which emerged from the mission, calls for concentrating government intervention (training, production demonstration and extension) in the Guine Forestire region with the establishment of a regional Service for Fish Culture based in Nzrkor. This service would have a production section in the area of Dick, to make use of the small water bodies in the area, and another at Macenta, where small ponds of 400 m2 average area would be tried as a model for the farmers. The first stage of development of rural aquaculture would be based on the rearing of O. niloticus with a production target of 5 mt/ha/year, using simple production methods. The recommended production model favors biomass production rather than individual fish size since price in local markets is not influenced by size. It was also recommended that a group of technicians be delegated to select sites for future farms, while the extension group would transfer information on production methods to the farmers and monitor the development of production. A research programme is proposed within and outside the area of intervention to look into the aquaculture potential of local species and the progressive introduction of promising species into local farms, using more elaborate and productive culture systems as farmers gain experience. Cage culture is proposed to be tested in order to enhance production and income from small water bodies, while rice-cum-fish culture would be tried with the aim of increasing revenue from irrigated rice field areas. Finally it was proposed that the existing station at Tollo, although outside the area of intervention, be used for demonstration of production methods. It is expected that this strategy could lead to the formulation of a medium term project for the development of aquaculture in Guinee Forestiere.


A preliminary assessment of the potential for aquaculture development in Morocco is the subject of a TCP project, Assistance to the Study of Aquaculture Potential (TCP/MOR/5612), approved in April 1996. Fisheries is an important sector for Morocco which produced about 748, 000 mt in 1994 with exports valued at US $ 620 million. Aquaculture, although not a traditional practice in the country, has expanded rapidly, with production doubling between 1992 and 1994 to 1,370 mt, most of which is high value species like seabass and gilthead seabream. The TCP is intended to help the Government decide whether or not the preparation of a detailed, full scale assessment of aquaculture potential, including the preparation of a national policy and development plan, and instruments for their implementation and regulation, is justified. The project will field a multidisciplinary mission to address this objective, and will conclude with a seminar in which the conclusions of the mission will be discussed with concerned Government agencies.


A short TCP project, Feasibility of Freshwater Prawn Hatcheries in Sind Province, Pakistan (TCP/PAK/4559), was implemented at the beginning of 1996 to assess the feasibility of freshwater prawn farming in the southern Sind province. A consultant, Michael New (UK), was sent to the country in November 1995 and his work was completed by January 1996. He recommended, among others, that development of freshwater prawn farming in Sind be based on the proven culture technology of Macrobrachium rosenbergii (as opposed to other species), and a monoculture system should be used initially. Monoculture of Machrobrachium in a 1 ha pond, using derelecit ponds or transforming less profitable carp ponds, would be profitable assuming production of 1.5 mt/ha/yr and a farm gate price of Rs. 135/Kg (US $ 3.94/kg) . Use of existing ponds would be more profitable than construction of new ones, while the viability of a venture consisting of a single 1 ha pond is doubtful if the price of land is included. Other limitations for the development of freshwater prawn farming in Pakistan include the lack of broodstock and seed, and lack of local familiarity with freshwater prawn culture. The establishment of hatcheries and demonstration facilities is required to overcome these constraints. The consultant reviewed several sites, pre-selected by Government staff, and recommended that production demonstration facilities be built at the existing finfish hatchery site at Chilya, and a prawn hatchery be built at the marine shrimp and finfish hatchery site at Hawkes Bay. A secondary option would be to introduce a specific hatchery using a recirculation system at Chilya. The project provided descriptive designs and related cost estimates for the required facilities, as well as information on production procedures. On-site training of staff, to be provided by experienced consultants, was recommended once the facilities became available. Following discussions with the consultant at the end of his mission, Sind authorities are preparing an application for federal funding for a project to establish a freshwater prawn hatchery and grow-out demonstration farm. A new UNDP-funded project, Fisheries Development in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) (PAK/94/005), with a duration of 30 months, was approved by UNDP in mid 1995. The development objective is a sustained increase in the productionof fish in AJK, based on the rational management and development of its fisheries resources. Two technical areas will be covered: the assessment, development and enhancement of fisheries and the promotion of aquaculture based on the demonstration of warm water fish culture, including the production of fry and feeds. The project also includes elements of local training, extension and institution building. It is nationally executed and will be supported by the FAO through consultants, including an aquaculture expert for 13 months, who will make three visits to the country, a fish disease consultant for one month, to prepare material and information required for fish disease prevention and control, and a Riverain fisheries expert, also for one month. The latter will conduct a baseline survey of wild fish stocks of selected rivers, streams and lakes, train national staff in water testing techniques, develop a data management system and plan and train staff on the assessment of fisheries potential. The aquaculture consultant, K.G. Rajbanshi (Nepal), arrived in February 1996 for his first mission and started immediately assessing the physical characteristics of the locations included in the project area. The lack of facilities is an impediment for effective training and demonstration of aquaculture techniques and consideration is being given to establishing a collaboration with progressive farmers in Muzaffarabad to use their farms for the demonstration activities of the project while government facilities are being built.


ALCOM, the FAO regional aquaculture project covering the SADC countries, financed by Sweden (SIDA) and Belgium, convened the 9th meeting of its Steering Committee in Gaborone, Botswana, in February 1996. The project is at a critical phase as support from the main donor -- Sweden, is terminating in 1996, while Belgian assistance, which supports project activities on small water bodies, is currently envisaged to continue only till the end of 1997. Sweden, however, continues to maintain an interest in the development of aquaculture in Africa as a component of farming systems and is funding a new project, called FARMESA, described below, which includes an aquaculture component. The project will cover some of the SADC countries.

The ALCOM workplan for 1996 includes regional activities under the core programme funded by Sweden and Belgium, plus pilot projects under the core programme and the Small Water Bodies Project. Regional activities include two technical consultations in 1996, one on Institutional Strengthening and Roles in Aquaculture Development , funded by Sweden, and another on Small Reservoir Fisheries Management , funded by Belgium. Work will continue on pilot projects funded by Sweden, including the two pilot projects for small scale farmers in Gaza Province and Manica Province in Mozambique, one project on semi-intensive aquaculture for small-scale farmers in the Morogoro region in Tanzania, and one project on improved aquaculture for small-scale farmers in the Eastern Province of Zambia. The pilot projects funded by Belgium will concentrate on small reservoir fisheries management and production in Malawi, the assessment of the fisheries and aquaculture potential of small water bodies in Tanzania, small reservoir fisheries management and production in the Southern Province of Zambia, and small reservoir fisheries management and production in Zimbabwe.

To prepare for the future, a special working group, created by SADC with the assistance of ALCOM, has been looking into options for incorporating the regional aspects of ALCOM into the SADC Inland Fisheries Sector Coordination Unit (IFSTCU) in Malawi, and donors have been approached regarding their interest in fnancing the proposed integration. A quadripartite mission was also launched in June 1996 to evaluate the present phase of ALCOM and to formulate recommendations to the donors, SADC and FAO on the best options for the future. FARMESA: A new project, Farm Level Applied Research Methods in East and Southern Africa (FARMESA), has been approved by Sweden (SIDA). The project, which will have a duration of three years, will operate in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is mainly concerned with addressing problems arising from top down approaches to development activities targeting smallholder farming, by improving the processes through which new technologies are identified, adapted and applied. It also seeks to increase the effectiveness of agricultural policy analysis and formulation by directing attention to the farm and community levels. The primary focus is upon techniques that allow field workers, researchers and policy analysts to collaborate in solving immediate farming problems. To be of any use to farmers these new approaches must be tested and applied in a field context while working with farmers at each stage of the process. FARMESA seeks to develop human and institutional capacity through field action, training and networking activities. The project has four immediate objectives: (a) to develop and utilize improved field methodologies for the identification, prioritization, testing and adaptation of appropriate smallholder technologies, (b) to gather and document field experience and other relevant national experience, and to disseminate it within participating and associated countries within the region, (c) to improve in-service training and formal education for strengthening human and institutional capacity to apply the new perspective, and (d) to support collaborating institutions in applying the methodologies and technologies developed under objective (a) on a wider basis.

The activities will be prioritized and organized by National Coordinating Committees of representatives from participating countries and managed by a Central Coordinating Unit located in Harare, Zimbabwe. Aquaculture development activities at the national level will be included as an element of the new project, which will build on the achievements of the ALCOM project. It is envisaged that there will be formal links at both the national and regional level between SADC-ALCOM and the new integrated project, for the exchange of information on small holder agriculture and aquaculture methodology.


A consultant, Darko Lisac (Croatia), visited Syria during March-April 1996 to assess the potential for the farming of marine finfish in the country, on the request of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Reform and as part of the FAO Technical Assistance Project, Assistance to Artisanal Fisheries [TCP/SYR/4552(A)].

Freshwater aquaculture (mainly common carp) contributes about 50% of domestic fish production. Plans have been made, with the assistance of a GTZ-funded fisheries project, for expansion of freshwater aquaculture in the small irrigated farms of the middle Euphrates basin, through integration with other farming activities, use of fish to control weeds in irrigation canals, and as an aid to soil desalination. The government now wishes to facilitate the development of mariculture, aimed at a domestic niche market, and, possibly, for export at a later stage, through the establishment of a pilot project. The project is intended to: (a) form a base of trained personnel, (b) provide a training and demonstration facility for the private sector, and (c) provide fish fry to facilitate private ventures. With the development of finfish mariculture, the government hopes to gradually phase out trawl fisheries.

The specific objectives of the mission were: (a) to assess the economic viability of a pilot marine fish farm at the Sinn Fish Farm of the General Establishment for Fisheries (GEF), or at a suitable alternate location, (b) to identify the most suitable species for mariculture, (c) to prepare an outline proposal for the establishment of a pilot mariculture operation, including requirements for facilities design and equipment, and technical assistance, and (d) to prepare an outline plan for the training of GEF staff. Following a review of the findings of earlier missions, the analysis of prevailing physical, biological and socio-economic conditions, and a preliminary cost/benefit analysis of potential culture systems, it was concluded that cage culture of marine finfish (aimed at the local market) would be economically viable even on a pilot scale. It was therefore recommended that development be initiated in two phases: (a) Phase one: establishment of a pilot (cage) production facility in Latakia port to produce 50-100 mt of Pagrus major, Sparus auratus and Diplodus puntazzo based on imported fry and feed, and training of GEF staff abroad; and (b) Phase two: establishment of a marine finfish hatchery at GEFs Sinn Fish Farm, transformation of the pilot cage facility to a fingerling production centre, initiation of private farms, and training of GEF staff in hatchery methods. Phase one of the project is to be facilitated by external technical and financial assistance.