Aquaculture Newsletter

(December 1996, Number 14)

Projects and other Activities


Mario Pedini and Ziad H. Shehadeh
Fishery Resources Division, FAO

FAO Expert Consultation on the Enhancement of Inland Fisheries

An Expert Consultation on Inland Fisheries Enhancement is to be held under the auspices of FAO in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 7-11 April 1997. The Overseas Development Administration (UK) is making a significant contribution to the consultation in terms of advice on technical content, sponsoring the participation of some of the experts, undertaking logistical support for the meeting and financing the publication of the report and contributed papers.

The consultation is aimed at promoting better understanding of how the various technical, socio-economic and cultural factors involved in implementing inland fisheries enhancement programmes must fit together to achieve success.

Global demand for fish is increasing at a time when most large-scale marine and freshwater fisheries in the larger water bodies are largely fully exploited. However, there are substantial potential growth areas which have so far been relatively neglected. Foremost amongst these is intensification (or enhancement) of fish production from currently under-utilised existing inland water bodies, including natural lakes, reservoirs, farm and community ponds, irrigation canals, and perennial or seasonal water bodies in floodplain depressions. These resources are often too small to be of interest to large commercial fishing operations, but they provide incomes and, most essentially, contributions towards the family diets of very large numbers of small-scale and subsistence fishermen.

The potential for enhancement of fish production from such waters has been considered a priority area of activity by the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service of FAO for some time. A number of appropriate management strategies have been identified. Experience in the implementation of these strategies has been built up to varying degrees in different parts of the world through field projects and syntheses of the literature. As with all development concepts, successful implementation depends not only on the proper choice of technical approach but on consideration of appropriate socio-economic organization to suit local conditions.

The outcome of the Japan/FAO International Conference on the Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security, Kyoto, Japan, 1995, has given further impetus to enhancements in two ways. Firstly, the Kyoto Declaration recognised four specific avenues for the enhancement of fisheries that, in brief, are (i) stocking and restocking (ii) assisting fishers to organise themselves (iii) promoting community management schemes and (iv) establishing user rights in open access. Secondly, the Kyoto Action Plan calls for the rapid transfer of know how in enhancement. The consultation encompasses these four avenues.

The Consultation is expected to produce:

  • Recommendations on the most appropriate enhancement strategies for promotion in each region. These will be as specific as possible, covering technical aspects (identification of appropriate species for stocking, cage culture etc.), organizational approach (feasibility of community management, family ownership etc) and economic questions (sources of credit, distribution of benefits etc.).

  • Conclusions about the realistic role of government, bilateral and multinational agencies in promoting the selected enhancement strategies, and their interface with the private sector, in each region or country represented.

  • Identification of individual and institutional expertise in relevant technical and social fields within developing countries as sources for TCDC exchanges.

  • Where international funding is considered necessary, outline proposals for potential regional/national programmes and projects will be prepared.

    The Expert Consultation will involve about 20 participants broadly spanning technology, culture and sociology, economics and administration. Geographically, South Asia, Latin America and Africa will be represented.

    Each participant will prepare an experience paper and a concise summary of it will be presented at the meeting. The Expert Consultation will be of four days duration with the first one and a half days for the presentations, the second one and a half days for group discussions and the final day for synthesis and reporting. A field trip to enhancement sites will occupy a fifth day.

    The report of the meeting as well as the experience papers will be published as FAO documents and widely distributed.o

    International Symposium on Marine Ranching

    The Symposium took place on 13-16 September 1996, in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan [see earlier article in FAN No.12 (April 1996): 18]. It was attended by representatives from over 20 countries, participants in the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)-sponsored course on marine ranching and the Japanese Overseas Fishery Co-operation Foundation(OFCF) training course for management of fishing for sustainable development, ICLARM, and SEADEC. Nine formal papers were presented. Dr. D. Bartley of the FAO Fisheries Department presented a paper on current issues, opportunities and constraints to marine ranching. The report of the meeting will be published with support from FAO and the Japanese Trust Fund GCP/INT/643/JPN.

    The Symposium was extremely informative in that it provided a timely forum for distribution of information on the Japanese programme of marine ranching. Japan is expending considerable time and expense to enhance the coastal fisheries within its EEZ. The country sees this as a necessity in light of its recent ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the resulting restriction of its foreign fishing rights. The Japanese contributions to the Symposium were extremely valuable and demonstrated what could be done when there is co-operation among all stakeholders of a resource.

    Two issues dominated the discussion - the cost effectiveness of the enhancement efforts and the protection of aquatic biological diversity. Concerning cost effectiveness, Japanese participants presented analyses that demonstrated that the ranching of several marine species is profitable if the cost of hatcheries and habitat improvement is excluded. The Japanese assume that it is the function of the government to offset the cost of hatchery construction, habitat improvement and other maintenance costs associated with ranching because of previous governmental policies that promoted industrialisation, often at the expense of the aquatic sector. It was noted that there is still a need to reduce the cost of producing stockable fish.

    Genetic resource management was also discussed, both in terms of protecting aquatic diversity and maximising output from the hatchery. Guidelines on these issues were requested by several participants.

    Discussion also addressed how best to transfer this technology to developing countries. Cost-benefit analysis and the conservation of native biological diversity were cited as the two primary concerns to address before transferring the technology. It was also noted that the fishery management regime in place will be important and that "western" style (i.e. open access) resource management may need to be adapted toward the Japanese model and the model of many rural areas where management includes local community involvement, property rights and customary marine tenure principles. It was also noted that in small island states (and probably other rural developing areas) fish storage and processing facilities are often lacking, but that many products from invertebrates require minimal or easy processing and can be stored more easily and taken to market in large lots very infrequently. Thus species choice for stocking in these areas should consider post harvest handling as a criterion.

    Dr. Bartley pointed out that accurate data on stocking will be required from FAO Members in order for FAO to assess accurately the trends and contribution of stocking to world fisheries production. More complete data on stocking programmes in both marine and freshwater are needed for this Purpose.

    First Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Aquaculture, Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission-Committee for the Development and Management of the Fishery Resources of the Gulfs

    The original schedule and venue of the meeting were amended from 10-12 June 1996, Manama, Bahrain to 1-3 October 1996, Cairo, Egypt (see earlier article on p. 19, April 1996-No. 12 issue of this Newsletter). The meeting took place in the premises of the FAO Regional Office for the Near East (FAO-RNE) and was attended by eight participants from five member countries-Bahrain (2), Islamic Republic of Iran (1), Kuwait (3), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1) and the United Arab Emirates (1). Six participants from Egypt attended as observers; FAO was represented by four officers, one from FAO-RNE and three from Headquarters, Rome.

    The meeting consisted of an organizational session and three technical sessions. Concerning organizational matters, participants discussed and adopted terms of reference for the Ad Hoc Working Group (WG) as well as operational guide lines which emphasized self-reliance and collaboration with other groups and regions.

    Technical sessions focused on three topics: (a) review of the status of aquaculture sector in the Gulfs Area and identification of main constraints and needs, based on country reviews prepared by participants and a regional overview by Dr. Z. Shehadeh (FAO, Rome), (b) a preliminary discussion on marine ranching and stock enhancement, including a review of stocking activities in the area, based on a review paper by Dr. D. Bartley (FAO, Rome) and presentations by Bahrain, Kuwait and Islamic Republic of Iran, and (c) a presentation of SIPAM, the French acronym for the Information System for the Promotion of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean, by Mr. S. Coppola and Mr. M. Bendag (FAO, Rome and SIPAM Regional Centre, Tunisia), and discussion on the utility of a similar system in the Gulfs Area.

    On the basis of discussions on regional constraints and related needs, the WG identified the following priorities in support of aquaculture development:

  • establishment of an aquaculture information system
  • marketing and cost analysis
  • training
  • feasibility studies on species of regional interest aimed at attracting investors into the sector
  • seed production
  • coastal area management including examining the effects of aquaculture on the coastal environment
  • feed production stressing local production from local products
  • integrated farming systems stressing the efficient use of water.

    The WG recommended that these priority issues should be raised at the 9th session of the IOFC Gulfs Committee for possible inclusion as agenda items at the next intersessional meeting of the WG. Technical members of the WG will provide their representatives to the 9th Session with appropriate background material and will identify specific national priorities from the above list so that they may be included on the agenda of a proposed intersessional meeting of the WG. The WG also recommended that resource managers, directors of fisheries, ministries, and research institutions involved in aquaculture research and development should strive to facilitate the exchange of information and researchers among the member countries.

    In light of the fact that the Group is newly established, the WG felt that there should be an intersessional meeting in one year. A main agenda item for this meeting should be preparation for the establishment of an aquaculture information system for the Gulfs Area. FAO should prepare a proposal for such an information system, based on the existing SIPAM model, for presentation at the intersessional meeting.

    First International Symposium on Stock Enhancement and Sea Ranching

    The Symposium will be convened at the Radisson SAS Hotel, Bergen, Norway, on 8-11 September 1997. It is hosted by the Norwegian Sea Ranching Program (PUSH) and sponsored by the European Commission (Programme FAIR), the Hordaland County Council and the Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway. Co-sponsors include FAO, the Japan Sea-Farming Association, the World Mariculture Society and the International Centre for the Exploration of the Sea. An International Scientific Committee of 15 persons from 8 countries and from the FAO (D. Bartley) provides the convenor (E. Moksness, Norway) with advise on the technical aspects of programme.

    The Symposium has been organised to provide a major forum for discussion of stock enhancement by scientists and managers from around the world. Its main objective is to bring scientists and managers together to exchange knowledge about the process and consequences of stock enhancement and sea ranching, and to identify the most important priorities for future research. It will enable participants to learn from the collective global experience and to develop rigorous, responsible approaches to assessing the merits of stock enhancement. Future symposia will be reconvened every four years to keep scientists and managers abreast of development in the field.

    The organisers invite papers on stock enhancement and sea-ranching that contribute to knowledge of the application, cost-benefit and ecological impact of these fisheries management measures. Contributions on marine fish, crustacea, molluscs and salmonids are welcome. Papers should make a contribution in one of the following areas:

  • the fitness of hatchery-reared juveniles for life in the wild,
  • strategies for tagging and releasing juveniles into the wild and measuring their contribution to fisheries,
  • ecological and genetic interaction between wild and enhanced populations of fish crustacea and molluscs, including introduction and transplantation of non-native species or genetically modified organisms (GMO)
  • risks of introducing diseases and parasites
  • method of assessment, monitoring and management of populations
  • economic viability of stocking programmes
  • the decision-making process, i.e. to use or not to use enhancement as a management tool,
  • right of access issue: who has the right to harvest an enhancement resource? What problems are likely to occur?
  • organization models.

    For further information contact:

    PUSH, Bontelabo 2, N-5003
    Bergen, Norway
    Fax: +47 55 317395
    e-mail: borthen@telepost.no
    Internet: http://www.imr.na/seur/hav97.html

    COLOMBIA

    A new TCP project "Análisis de Componentes Estratégicos del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola Colombiano: Formulación de Políticas "(Analysis of strategic components of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Colombia: Policy Formulation) " has been approved by FAO. The project, of eight months duration, will be implemented by the Instituto de Pesca y Acuicultura (INPA). The fisheries sector has experienced rapid changes in Colombia with a rather fast growth which has moved the total production from 57, 500 mt in 1983 to nearly 109, 000 mt in 1991. The contribution of the various fisheries sub-sectors to production has also changed, moving from inland fisheries to marine fisheries and aquaculture. The Government believes, however, that the development potential of shrimp culture and rural aquaculture is much higher than the present levels of production indicate.

    The country has recently established the INPA , with assistance from FAO, as an institution for the management and development of the fisheries sector. The new project is expected to assist the Government in the formulation of a strategy for the main strategic sub-sectors (tuna fisheries, shrimp culture, small scale fisheries, rural aquaculture and use of discards). For shrimp culture, the aim of the government is to study the present status and the perspectives for development, as well as the impact on shrimp fisheries, and to elaborate strategies to facilitate the consolidation of the sub-sector in the short and medium term. For rural aquaculture, there is need to define a national strategy to consolidate and optimize on-going activities in terms of technical viability and economic profitability. The project's work plan calls for the preparation of high level strategic studies using a participative approach for their identification, preparation of study methodologies, implementation of the study, as well as evaluation of conclusions and recommendations. For aquaculture a totally new study will be implemented for shrimp culture, while in the case of rural aquaculture the project will update previous studies. FAO will provide a fisheries economist who will co-ordinate the project and an international shrimp culture expert; the rural aquaculture component will be implemented through local consultants under the supervision of the project coordinator.

    CYPRUS

    In the context of the TCP/CYP/5611 "Supporting Services to Aquaculture Development" which was described in the previous issue of this newsletter (No.13 (August 10): 24), two missions have taken place to support the components on fish diseases and inspection and control of fish and fish products. Dr. R. Subasinghe from Headquarters visited the country from 1 to 7 September 1996 to define the assistance needed for the implementation of the fish disease component. None of the notifiable diseases listed in the OIE International Aquatic Animal Health Code were found to be present in Cyprus. Regarding institutional matters, there is good collaboration between the Department of Fisheries and the Veterinary Services, which should facilitate co-ordination in the future. However, the lack of training and experience by the veterinarians put recently in charge of fish diseases, and the lack of suitable facilities for work on aquatic animal health, limit the potential assistance that the veterinarian services can provide to the aquaculture industry in the island. The mission recommended initial training in aquaculture for the two veterinarians in charge of fish health, and training in health management the biologist in the Fisheries Department. The recruitment of an additional veterinarian in the Department of Veterinary Services, to share the responsibilities of the two officers, was suggested.

    The potential risk of introduction of the new Noda Virus (Viral Encephalopathy in sea bass) to Cyprus makes the strengthening of expertise on aquatic virology imperative; specific training in aquatic virology for one staff is required. It was also recommended that the facilities available in Nicosia for work in virology of terrestrial animals be also used for work on fish virology, rather than setting up a new laboratory. It was further noted that the Dept. of Veterinary Services has no capabilities in aquatic animal histopathology which are considered essential for diagnosis of aquatic animals, and specific training in this field was needed. Dr. Subasinghe recommended tight control on the imports of Penaeus monodon from Asian farms into the country because of the high risk of introduction of viral diseases.

    The training programme for the veterinarians of the Dept. of Veterinary Services was also defined, with recommendation for three location: the Fish Diseases Laboratory at Eilat, Israel, University of Stirling and the Istituto Zooprofilattico delle Venezie, Dipartimento di Ittiopatologia, Udine, Italy. Regarding the consultants to be provided by FAO, it was recommended that two visits by two different specialists should be contemplated instead of one.

    A second mission by Mr. Carlos Lima dos Santos of the FAO Fisheries Industries Division was carried out to identify the training needs of the government and industry personnel in the area of fish technology and inspection and quality control, and to identify assistance needs in the area of organization and implementation of a modern national fish inspection and quality assurance programme. Landing places as well as fish farms, packing plants, fish processing plants, cold stores, fish retail shops and fish markets were visited. Findings indicated the urgent need to improve the present standards, in particular for fish retail shops and processing plants. Training needs for fishermen, owners of fishing vessels, and transporters of fish were also defined.

    1ST SESSION OF THE GFCM AQUACULTURE COMMITTEE

    The Aquaculture Committee of the General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean (GFCM) was established by the 21st Session of the GFCM in 1995 and met for the first time in Rome from 9 to 12 September 1996. The meeting was held thanks to a generous contribution from the Italian Government, which hosted the meeting in the FAO premises. A total of 11 countries sent delegations to the meeting; observers from the International Centre for Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP PAP/RAC), EC DG XIV, the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP), and the Russian Federation also attended. The meeting was chaired by Prof. S. Cataudella, head of the Italian delegation.

    The Committee first reviewed and adopted its draft terms of reference, which focused on the provision of a forum for discussion on aquaculture development in the Mediterranean and the supervision and guidance of the work of the networks created by Mediterranean Regional Aquaculture Programme, Phase II (MEDRAP II). The second item of the agenda was a discussion on the status of aquaculture in the GFCM countries, which followed a general presentation on aquaculture development trends in the region by the Committee's Technical Secretary, Mr. M. Pedini, and national reports by the delegations. An important point emerging from the presentations was that in the last decade there has been an increase in production which, though modest in volume, was important in terms of value. Production has diversified, but the urgency behind the diversification process is much more pronounced today than it was five years ago. The industry is experiencing problems linked to marketing of high value species and to the impact of expanded production on prices. These problems have fuelled research programmes to optimize production efficiency. Environmental problems and growing concerns about environmental impacts of aquaculture development are also having a negative impact on the industry. In Eastern Europe, the on-going economic changes are posing a formidable challenge to the industry, which requires legislative support and the creation of new markets for the traditional freshwater products. The measures being implemented by the EU on quality control and the duties imposed on the imports of products from non-member countries were also seen by both member and non-member countries as challenges to the industry. In member countries, the need to comply with the new regulations may imply a reorganization of the industry in the near future with mergers of companies and creation of groups providing services for quality assurance to smaller farms. The EC policy in favour of better quality control and campaigns to increase fish consumption also represents a drastic departure from past EC assistance which was centred mainly on the construction of facilities.

    An important decision of the Committee, in respect of future sessions, was the recommendation to include representatives from producers associations in the national delegations, although it was recognized that the composition of the delegations was a national prerogative. The Committee also endorsed the policy of the GFCM and FAO in favour of networking in the light of the problems highlighted by the countries, particularly the difficulties being experienced by smaller countries in providing all the required services for the development of the sector.

    Following the discussion on the status of aquaculture in the region, the representatives of the four Mediterranean aquaculture networks TECAM, SELAM, EAM and SIPAM [see article in FAO Aquaculture Newsletter No. 13 (August 1996): 13-17] presented the progress achieved to date and the activities planned for 1996-1997. CIHEAM (co-ordinator of TECAM & SELAM) indicated that, based on the results and reactions to activities carried out so far, there is a great interest in training activities, and that the scarcity of researchers in the southern countries could limit co-operation with countries of the northern shore. The Committee considered the work of CIHEAM highly satisfactory and proposed that in addition to the activities programmed for 1997, an activity on offshore cage infrastructure and another on legal aspects of aquaculture development be considered. In the case of EAM, concern was expressed about the limited programme, due to the low level of funding for the network from MAP PAP/RAC. It was recognized that the programme, which had been designed at the last meeting of the EAM Co-ordination Committee, was over-ambitious in relation to available resources, and that a prioritization of the activities was necessary. Guidance on appropriate environmental impact assessment and monitoring techniques was flagged by several delegations as a very urgent topic, and an increase in training activities of the programme was also suggested. The Committee approved the work carried out in the framework of SIPAM and recognized the general interest in the system and the efforts of the Tunisian Government in the network. It was requested that a longer programme of work, covering 1997 and 1998 be prepared and presented to potential donors in the region to secure additional resources for the network activities. The need to reinforce the national centres, especially in the main producing countries, was highlighted.

    The Committee was in favour of consolidating the networks by integration of the various activities, as this would result in considerable synergy. The delegation of Bulgaria also indicated that a closer collaboration with the networks being established in the Eastern European countries was required. The delegation also expressed interest in being linked to the SIPAM network in the near future. The delegate from France offered to explore the possibility to hold an inter-session meeting in France, in late 1997, to reinforce co-ordination among the four networks.o

    LAOS

    The report on the findings and recommendations of the UNDP-funded project LAO/89/003 " Development of Fish Culture Extension" was issued last summer. This project was a continuation of LAO/82/014 "Rehabilitation of Fish Seed Farms and Fish Culture Development", with a budget of $ 1.1 million from UNDP. It became operational in 1992 and was completed in June 1996.

    Laos is a landlocked country with an area of 236,000 square km, 80% of which consist of mountains and dense forests. It is sparsely populated at with a total population of 4.3 million inhabitants. Fish consumption is low at about 7 kg/caput/year and capture fisheries in the Mekong River basin are declining. This has highlighted the importance of aquaculture, with 8,000 ha of fish ponds already in operation. Accordingly, the sub-sector plays an important role in the Government's policy to attain food self-sufficiency, as an integral part of the livestock sub-sector programmes.

    The project had two main objectives to improve annual food intake and to increase the income of the aquaculture farmers, and to develop technical manpower in the country as a means of strengthening the central and provincial fisheries administrations. The difficult relief of the country and the scarcity of public financial support for aquaculture development in rural areas favoured an extension approach based on demonstration sites in selected target areas. Target district and villages in the 10 provinces where the project operated were selected on the basis of an RRA survey conducted before the start of the project. A total of 402 target farmers were identified in the 10 provinces of the project and were monitored until the end of the project. The expatriate staff of the project included one Chief Technical Adviser, Dr. S. B. Singh, who was stationed at the project's main centre in Nonteng, Vientiane prefecture, and two UN Volunteer specialists stationed at sub-centres in Savannakhet and Xiengkhouang. The project team worked under the overall supervision of the Directorate of Livestock Veterinary Department.

    Following an analysis of existing farming practices, a programme was initiated to improve production by adapting improved practices in a progressive manner. The main farming systems included pond culture, integrated farming with livestock (generally pigs, chicken and ducks), rice-cum-fish culture and fish seed production. Before the project, pond culture was characterized by very high stocking densities ( 20,000-30,000 fish/ha) of small fry in poorly prepared ponds. The results were low survival and low production. The project introduced better practices of pond preparation and advocated lower stocking rates (5,000/ha) with larger fry. The result was an increase of production from 50-200 kg to 1,000-2,000 kg/ha and an improvement in survival rates from 10-30% to 70-90%. Better integration practices increased production in target demonstration sites from 100-500 kg to 1200-2500 kg/ha. The work of the project in improving rice-cum-fish practices involved modifications of the rice fields, to provide aquatic environments more suitable for fish production, which resulted in increases of production from 30-50 kg/ha to 300-600 kg/ha. Fish seed production was traditional for common carp, tilapia, and Puntius gonionotus. The project improved the performance of the target farmers and also introduced the breeding of Asiatic carps, the fry of which command a better price in the country than the species mentioned above.

    A review of the project's impact in 1995 showed that as a result of production improvement demonstrated through the 402 target farmers, a total of 2,333 farmers had started aquaculture practices in an area of over 625 ha. Income improvements brought by the adoption of better farming practices were estimated as seven fold previous levels.

    In the area of capacity building, the project conducted 30 training programmes in various subjects, including seed production, for a total of 868 farmers. Training of public sector staff involved study tours to Thailand and Vietnam and TCDC arrangements with China, Vietnam and Myanmar. The training programme also involved the preparation of extension materials including six leaflets, two pamphlets and one poster, as well as a technical manual incorporating technology packages for various farming systems. The report concludes by proposing a new project to maintain the momentum generated and to consolidate the work initiated. The project rationale takes into consideration the limited capacity of the Laotian government to support aquaculture development and extension, and the success achieved by the completed project through direct training of target farmers. For future expansion of the sector, seed production by rural farmers is a major priority area. o

    SIPAM

    Upon request of the Italian Fisheries Director General, Italy has now joined the Information System for Promotion of Aquaculture in the Mediterranean (SIPAM). Italy was the last major producing country of the region which was missing in the system . The Italian SIPAM national centre will be managed by the Istituto Centrale Per La Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica Applicata Al Mare (ICRAM) (Central Institute for Applied Marine Scientific and Technological Research) where a special unit is being created for this purpose. As part of the agreement with Italy, two regional meetings will be sponsored in 1997, in which the progress of the SIPAM system will be reviewed by the national co-ordinators, and the new versions of the software will be presented and discussed. The first meeting is tentatively planned to be held in Italy at the beginning of 1997. The two meetings will be held back to back with technical meetings of an ICRAM project called "Oservatorio dell' Acquacultura Mediterranea (Observatory of Mediterranean Aquaculture)" where the supply and demand situation for Mediterranean seabass and seabream, for which Italy is the main market, is monitored.

    Following the programme established by the First Meeting of the SIPAM Co-ordination Committee in Tunis last January, two missions to Malta and Morocco were launched to install the last software version of the system and to train the national staff in the use of the SIPAM system . These missions have been implemented in the framework of the FAO Technical Co-operation among Developing Countries (TCDC) Programme. Under this programme, which has been signed by all the developing countries of the GFCM Region, the beneficiary country covers the board and lodging costs of the mission (visiting experts), while the releasing government (providing the experts) maintains the salaries and benefits of its national experts. FAO covers the travel costs and provides a modest supplement to per diem expenses. In the case of the two above mentioned missions, assistance to Malta has been provided through the Government of Cyprus, by provision of two staff members of the national (Cyprus) SIPAM centre, while assistance to Morocco has been provided through the staff of the SIPAM Regional Centre in Tunis.

    The SIPAM system has also been presented to the countries of the Gulfs Area in the framework of the first meeting of the IOFC/ Gulfs Committee Ad Hoc Working Group on Aquaculture, held in Cairo from 1 to 3 October 1996. The presentation of the system was carried out by the system designer (FAO) assisted by the aquaculturist/data manager of the SIPAM regional centre in Tunis. The Working Group requested that a similar system be established in the Gulfs Area and recommended that FAO prepare a proposal for this purpose to be reviewed at a special inter-session meeting be held in 1997.

    VENEZUELA

    A new Technical Co-operation Project has been approved by FAO for Venezuela to deal with genetic improvement of tilapias in the country. Aquaculture is a growing sector in Venezuela since tilapia culture started on a commercial scale in 1991. Tilapia production expanded to 400 t in 1992, and to an estimated 1 500 t in 1995. A total of 140 farmers were culturing tilapias in 1995, with farm sizes ranging from 10 ha to 500 m2, reflecting the varied socio-economic interest in this form of aquaculture. However, problems have been experienced with the production of high quality seed, in particular all male red tilapias, which has prompted the Government to request assistance from FAO for the genetic improvement of parent stocks.

    The project includes the following activities: an evaluation of the status of tilapia culture in the country, the adoption of the most suitable technology for broodstock production, training of public and private sector technicians, an analysis of the economics of the use of improved stocks, extension and preparation of extension materials (including the production of a video) on the use of improved broodstock and seed, analysis of environmental impact of the project, and a campaign to raise awareness about preservation of biodiversity. The project will select breeders from stocks available in the country and will also import adult stocks as required. The economic analysis component will study the pre and post project situation in order to produce an evaluation of impact. FAO will provide three consultants and will support the operation of the project with visits of the Headquarters' Fishery Resources Officer in charge of genetics and biodiversity. The project will organize four courses in the country two on genetic improvement of tilapias (one practical and one theoretical), one on biodiversity in tilapias, and another on the economics of genetic improvement of tilapia. Four missions are foreseen which will conclude with a national seminar in which the results and conclusions of the project will be presented.o

    VIET NAM

    A Technical Co-operation Project TCP/VIE/6611 with Viet Nam on "Integrated Snail Management in Rice" commenced in April 1996. The objective of the assistance is to help the Government of Viet Nam to limit damage and prevent further spreading of an introduced aquatic snail pest of rice, with a view to developing a long-term management programme. Main components of the assistance are (i) the systematic collection and analysis of data to monitor the spread of infestation and the success of control activities, (ii) the incorporation of a `snail management' module in Farmer Field Schools of the national FAO-supported Integrated Pest Management Programme for Rice, and (iii) the promotion of the use of carps in rice fields (rice-fish farming) and communal waters for the biological control of snails. In addition, specific biological control agents need to be identified in the snail's native habitat in South America, and, as part of the project, opportunities for institutional linkages with Latin America to develop a long-term sustainable solution to the snail problem have been explored. The project so far has received services from three international consultants on information systems, biological control, and fish breeding as well as technical support missions from the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (Dr. M. Halwart), Department of Fisheries.


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