Projects and other activities...

Mario Pedini1, M. Hadj Ali Salem2 and R. Willmann3

1 Fishery Resources Division, Fisheries Department ;

2 SIPAM Regional Centre (Tunisia);

3Policy and Planning Division, Fisheries Department



The third field mission of the FIMLAP project took place from 8 to 19 June 1998 (see related article in FAN No.15, p. 27). This mission carried out a more detailed technical and economic analysis of production (fish culture) results, based on a set of data better than that available during the second mission. A two-day workshop was organized to discuss the mission's conclusions. Participants (both technicians and economists) came from the main farms of the country as well as from the institutions responsible for aquaculture research and development. The mission also met with the Vice-Minister of Fisheries in charge of aquaculture production, for further discussions of the recommendations and follow up proposals.

The main observations raised by the second mission, centered on the over-ambitious and risky nature of the adopted strategy, taking into account the present situation of the country and the innovative (for the country) nature of the recently adopted administrative-accounting system. The third mission's technical conclusions were based on more detailed information from a new production cycle. Two main technical packages were adopted for fish culture in earthen ponds, one based on monoculture of tilapia (Oreochromis aureus) at high densities (160,000/ha), irregularly fed with poor quality locally produced feed, and the second on polyculture of tilapia (Oreochromis aureus), silver carp (Hypophtalmichthys molitrix), bighead carp (Arystichthys nobilis), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio), with variable densities and species ratios. Commercial feed plus some grass, and other agricultural by-products were used in polyculture trials. Fertilization with cowdung and other organic wastes was also practised. The techno-economic evaluation has shown that, in all cases but one, the activity was not economically viable. As could be expected, results were more negative for monoculture than for polyculture.

Availability of feeds and appropriate feeding strategies appeared to be key problems. A TCP project dealing with nutrition and feeding in fish culture has recently started in Cuba, and it is

expected to offer alternative non-conventional methods for feeding cultured fishes at lower costs. The more appropriate strategy for the prevailing conditions requires a predominance of herbivorous and planktivorous carps in the cultured species mix. Other technical changes proposed were:

Lower stocking densities should be used to avoid the use of drugs for hormone sex reversal, which may limit the marketability of the product.

When possible, a four-step culture scheme should be followed: pre-nursery, nursery, pre-growing and growing. The first step, pre-nursery, from fry to 10 g fingerling, would significantly reduce the present cost of this production input. Manual sexing could be done between nursery and pre-growing phase.

Production cycles should be staggered to ensure a continuous market supply through the year.

Grass carp proportion should be increased in polyculture, to benefit from its capacity to transform grass into fish flesh and to also generate fertilizer for the ponds.

Oreochromis aureus should be gradually replaced by faster growing Nile tilapia, O. niloticus.

Work on genetic improvement of tilapia should be reactivated (two TCP projects on this subject have been executed in 1985 and 1994) to ensure better stock for culture.

Concerning economic and financial aspects, two features need to be taken into account: (i) economic and financial management of fish production facilities (fish farms, processing plants, etc.) are decentralized to the provincial level (12 provinces); and (ii) there is a policy to promote the economic and financial self sufficiency of the provincial production complexes. This economic and institutional set up requires more advanced technical and methodological tools for use by the central office of the Ministerio de la Industria Pesquera (MIP) to permit adequate management control


of, and enable timely technical advice to the decentralized units. MIP has developed an accounting system for the decentralized units and for single aquaculture farms. The system meets modern accounting criteria, and if correctly implemented, will provide appropriate information for corporate management control. There is, however, a need for more in-depth training of personnel, until the system is completely understood and has become an operational norm. There is also a need to provide the key staff of the management control system with more thorough information on microeconomics, and economic and financial analysis.




SIPAM Software and data.

As a follow-up on the Salerno meeting (see FAN No.17, p.18 ), a prototype of an improved version of the software that was prepared by the Institute of Marine Biology of Crete, Greece, named release 2.0, has been tested by FAO and the SIPAM Regional Centre. The main modifications concern reference tables, R & D programme (to create an automatic link between R & D programmes and Bibliography), data entry (to allow data entry for more than one location within a country), help manual and reporting. The final version will soon be distributed to the National Co-ordinators. The SIPAM Regional Centre is also working on the improvement of the reference tables.

As planned in the SIPAM and SELAM programmes of work for 1998, a joint meeting SIPAM - SELAM meeting took place in February 1998, at FAO Headquarters, with the participation of FEAP (Federation of European Aquaculture Producers), CIHEAM, the SIPAM Regional Centre staff and FAO staff, to discuss a possible agreement to utilize data on aquaculture marketing collected by the FEAP on a specialized data base, and the structure of the SIPAM marketing data base. An agreement was reached to extract data from the FEAP data base (to be later approved at a FEAP General Assembly meeting) in exchange for some of the data of interest to the producers contained in SIPAM. It was also agreed that the GLOBEFISH data base prepared by FAO headquarters should be analysed for eventual downloading of information. Agreement was also reached on a survey of existing capabilities for aquaculture marketing in the Mediterranean to be undertaken jointly with SELAM. Mr. P. Paquotte visited Rome for the second time in July 1998, on behalf of the SELAM network, where he worked in collaboration with Ms. C. Iandoli (ICRAM) and FAO staff to analyse the information contained in 

GLOBEFISH and to finalize the design of the structure of the marketing data base for SIPAM. The forms for the survey to be carried out by CIHEAM were prepared at the same time.

The 3rd issue of the SIPAM Regional Data Base was distributed recently to network members. It includes 5,738 records. For the time being, the Regional Data Base will be issued on a quarterly basis.

Mission to SIPAM member Countries

SIPAM has entered a phase in which functional national SIPAM networks have to be established and consolidated. Following earlier visits to other countries, the SIPAM Regional Co-ordinator visited Turkey last December. He made a number of useful contacts with both the public sector, including the National Research Institute (TUBITAK), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), and the private sector — both producers' associations and individual producers (marine aquaculture), around the Bodrum area.

SELAM and TECAM Networks

Recent activities of the two networks managed by CIHEAM included the following:

the Workshop on Aquaculture Planning in Mediterranean Countries, held in Tangier (Morocco), 12 to 14 March 1998. This workshop was jointly organized by the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (CIHEAM - IAMZ), the FAO Fisheries Department and Institut National de la Recherche Halieutique (INRH) (CASABLANCA, MOROCCO). A total of 49 experts from 9 Mediterranean countries (Cyprus, France, Italy, Israel, Malta, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey) and representatives from CIHEAM and FAO attended the workshop.

the Advanced Course on Mediterranean Aquaculture : New Techniques for Marine Hatcheries, held in Mazarron (Spain), 23 February to 6 March 1998. The course was jointly organized by the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Zaragoza (CIHEAM - IAMZ), and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) with the collaboration of the FAO Fisheries Department. A total of 27 participants from 12 Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey),

the Workshop on Aquaculture Feed Manufacturing Practice within the Mediterranean Region, held in Reus (Spain) from 25 to 27 March 1998. An extensive report on the results of these activities will be included in the next FAN issue.


Ad-Hoc Expert Meeting Recommends Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Shrimp Culture for Country-Level Reporting

The Bangkok FAO Technical Consultation on Policies for Sustainable Shrimp Culture, 8 to 11 December 19971, recommended, inter alia, that FAO specifically request governments of countries engaged in shrimp culture to report on progress in implementing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in relation to shrimp culture activities to the Committee on Fisheries (COFI). The Consultation also recommended that FAO convene a meeting of technical experts to develop appropriate criteria and indicators to assess progress made in the process of national shrimp culture development.

In pursuance of this recommendation, FAO held an ad-hoc expert group meeting in FAO HQ, Rome, Italy, from 28 to 30 April 1998. The participants included government experts involved in planning and management of shrimp culture, academics with broad experience in sustainability issues of shrimp culture and serving as consultants to important industry and environmental NGOs, and experts from three inter-governmental organizations including FAO.

The meeting noted that indicators must be practical and cost-effective, and ideally integrated within existing data collection programmes; this usually called for a small number of well-designed indicators which are clearly linked to specific criteria, and which have properly defined objectives. It did prioritize and prepare a recommended short-list of the criteria and indicators of sustainable shrimp culture which could form the basis for regular reporting by countries to COFI. The indicators are multi-disciplinary and far-reaching, covering eco-system and bio-physical, economic and social, and legal and institutional aspects of shrimp culture. However, the meeting stressed that these criteria and indicators related to the national level and did not encompass farm-level and local-level indicators which were inappropriate for the envisaged reporting exercise. It also noted that the regular collation of these indicators would greatly benefit the planning and management of shrimp culture development.

The meeting concluded that it would be premature at this stage to request governments to report actual data on those indicators to the next session of COFI, 15-19 February 1999. Instead, it elaborated a questionnaire to allow governments to review and comment on the recommended indicators and on their present and future ability to acquire the related data and information. Moreover, the meeting decided that in this questionnaire, governments should be given the opportunity to indicate the nature of assistance deemed desirable to adopt a comprehensive statistical system for their shrimp culture sub-sectors in view of the inadequacies of many existing systems and of the high socio-economic importance and specific management and development requirements of shrimp culture.


The report of the meeting is being published as FAO FisheriesReport No. 582 in English, French and Spanish. The English version will soon be available on the Home Page of the FAO Fisheries Department at:

1 The report in English and Spanish has been published as FAO Fisheries Report No. 572. A summary of the proceedings of the Consultation has been provide in FAN No. 18.

FAO and NACA to Cooperate in Conference on Aquaculture

FAO will cooperate with NACA in organizing the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium, to be held on 21-26 February 2000, in Bangkok, Thailand. The Conference will take place nearly a quarter century after the first global technical conference on aquaculture organized by FAO in cooperation with the Government of Japan in Kyoto, in 1976.

The Conference aims to attain a consensus on perspectives and future trends in aquaculture, and to develop strategies to address emerging opportunities and constraints, including a plan of action for regional and inter-regional cooperation. The Conference will consist of eight sessions, namely:

1. Overview of status and future trends in aquaculture development and management

2. Sustainable aquaculture technology

3. Food security and aquaculture

4. Information and monitoring

5. Quality, marketing and trade

6. Financing aquaculture development and management

7. Policies for sustainable aquaculture

8. Concluding session: policy, strategies and action plan

Agreement to cooperate in the Conference was reached through an exchange of letters between FAO's Assistant Director General for Fisheries, Mr. M. Hayashi, and NACA Coordinator and Conference Secretary General, Mr.Hassanai Kongkeo. FAO will participate in the Conference steering, programme and editorial committees, and assist NACA in organizing the sessions, identifying technical reviewers, developing review papers, including perspectives and future trends in aquaculture for regions other than Asia-Pacific, and in publishing the Conference report and proceedings. These details were discussed at the July 21-22 meeting of the Conference Steering Committee.

An aquaculture technology, trade and seafood show will be held in parallel with the Conference.