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NATIONAL REPORT OF SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS

by

Samuel Heyliger
Data Officer
Fisheries Management Unit
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries,
Cooperatives, Lands and Housing
P.O. Box 39, Basseterre
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Tel: +1869-4658045
Fax: +1869-4667254
Email: fmusk@caribsurf.com

I. GENERAL INFORMATION

Geography and Economy

Area

269 km²

Length of coastline

135 km

Shelf area

690 km²

Terrain

Volcanic islands with central mountainous forest

Climate

Tropical maritime

Population

45 900 (2000 est.)

Annual growth rate

0.3 % (2000)

Language

English

Work force

22 583

Unemployment rate

4.8 % (2000 est.)

GDP

US$ 349.4 Million (2000)

GDP growth rate

4%

GDP per capita

US$ 7 471 (2000)

Central Gov’t budget

US$ 110 764 000 (2000)

Currency unit

Eastern Caribbean Dollar


US$ 1.00 = EC$ 2.71 (May 2002)

Agriculture

Agro-Products: Sugar, Vegetables, fruits, fish, livestock, 4.5% + (fishing: 1.7%)

Industry

Trans./comm.: 18%, Manufacturing: 11.6%, Construction: 14%, Hospitality: 7%, Banking/financial: 13%

Trade

Exports: $ 50.78 million


- Sugar, rum, molasses, electronic/electrical components, miscellaneous manufactured goods


Imports: $ 172 563 million


- Machinery, electrical items, foodstuff, garments, fuel-oils, transportation equipment, agro-chemicals, fertilizer & pesticides, beverages, miscellaneous consumer goods & materials

Fisheries Data

Commodity balance (2000)

Fish for direct
human consumption

Production

Imports

Exports

Total supply

Per caput supply

‘000 mt live weight

kg/yr

0.470

1.376

0.073

1.846

43.9

Estimated employment (2000)


Primary sector

578


Secondary sector

Not Available

Gross value of fisheries output (at ex-vessel prices)

Not Available

Trade (2000)


Value of imports

US$ 2.81 million


Value of exports

US$ 0.245 million

II. STATUS OF AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION

Over the last two decades aquaculture has been thought of as supplemental provider of fresh fish for the country. A number of attempts have been made at developing viable systems within both islands.

In Saint Kitts, a marine shrimp farm was attempted using a natural salt pond. This encountered a number of technical problems. The venture was later abandoned. The farm produced a small amount of the shrimp that was marketed locally.

On Nevis, attempts were made through assistance from the OAS to develop a tilapia project. However, this venture encountered a number of challenges both financial and technical. In spite of the challenges, one of the project’s main objectives was achieved. This was the awareness of the local population of the potential for aquaculture. This was evident as a number of persons expressed their interest in starting their own backyard production. One of those persons was the former Premier of Nevis. Today concerns are being raised by the Fisheries Department, as a number of ponds/water catchments that were stocked with tilapia are being harvested indiscriminately by locals. Aquaculture still does not make any contribution to the national statistics of fish production.

Handling and marketing of aquaculture products

Presently, nothing is being cultured. However, different varieties of tilapia can be found both on Saint Kitts and Nevis in water catchments and back yard systems. Experience has demonstrated that aquaculture products can be successfully marketed on Saint Kitts and Nevis. Shrimps were marketed whole and headless with much success.

III. POLICY MAKING, PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT

The future of aquaculture looks hopeful. It is anticipated that with more lands becoming available, as a result of adjustments in the present acreage under sugar cane production, aquaculture could get the long awaited boost. Ironically, in the Department of Agriculture “Landscape after Sugar”, little or nothing has been said as to the potential for aquaculture to influence land use. Nevertheless, the Government has stated its intention to develop aquaculture and a number of avenues are being pursued to achieve this goal.

It is suggested that any significant development in aquaculture will come through the private sector with government providing an enabling environment for development. A number of proposals have already been received. On Saint Kitts, one proposal to “grow out” tilapia is currently under way. No brood stocks or nursery will be run. While on Nevis plans are being developed to commence a multi-million dollar aquaculture project. Not much information is available on this proposal.

With regard to legislation, very little is legislated with direct reference to aquaculture. The Fisheries Management Unit has been mandated by the Ministry of Agriculture to develop projects for aquaculture. The process is still in its infancy.

NATIONAL REPORT OF SAINT LUCIA

by

Keith Mottley and Leroy Ambroise
Fisheries Assistants
Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries
Castries
Saint Lucia
Tel: +1758-452-6172/4531456
Fax: +1758-4523853
Email: deptfish@slumaffe.org

I. GENERAL INFORMATION

Geography and Economy

Area

616 km²

Length of Coastline

130 km

Shelf area

522 km²

Terrain

Mountainous

Climate

Tropical maritime

Population

158 018 (2001)

Annual growth rate

1.47% (2000)

Language

English (official); French patois is common throughout the country.

Work force

Agriculture 36.6%, Industry and Commerce 20.1%, Services 18.1%.

Unemployment rate

18%

GDP

US$ 584.3 million (2002)

GDP growth rate

4.05% (2001)

GDP per Capital

US$ 2 823 (1999)

Central Govn’t Budget

EC$ 492 814 068 (2002/2003)

Currency Unit

Eastern Caribbean Dollar


US$ 1.00 = EC$ 2.71 (May 2002)

Agriculture

6.3% of GDP (2001). Products: bananas (major), other crops, livestock, fishing, forestry.

Industry

4.9% of GDP (2001). Types: garments, electronic components, beverage, corrugated boxes.

Trade

Exports: US$ 43.8 million (2000)
- bananas, other Agricultural products, oil and fats, manufactured goods.
Imports: US$ 359 million (2000)
- food, fuel, manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment.

Fisheries Data

Commodity balance (1989)

Fish for direct
human consumption

Production

Imports

Exports

Total supply

Per caput supply

‘000 mt live weight

kg/yr

1.90

0.70

0.0

1.60

10.60

Estimated employment (2001)


Primary Sector

An estimated 2096 fishermen half of which are full-time


Secondary Sector

Not Available

Estimated fish production (2001)

1 967.2 tonnes

Gross value of fisheries Output (at ex-vessel prices - 2001)

S$ 8.6 million

Trade (2001)


Value of imports

EC$ 232 790 706.00


Value of exports

EC$ 33 972 456.00

II. STATUS OF AQUACULTURE AND PRODUCTION

Species cultured and technologies

Inland aquaculture

The Asian freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii, the Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), and the Red Hybrid Tilapia are the three species cultured in Saint Lucia. The culture of both the freshwater prawn and the tilapia are carried out in small earthen ponds ranging between a few hundred square metres to a couple thousand. The ponds are usually fed by a continuous flow of pumped freshwater or gravitational flow from water dams fed by rivers or springs. The overall combined surface area under present production for both species has been estimated around 24 800 square metres. The private sector interest in freshwater aquaculture, particularly with regard to freshwater prawn farming, is steadily increasing as clearly shown by the recent increase in pond areas.

Coastal aquaculture

The only marine species which has received considerable attention and currently being cultured using a simple technology is a local strain of seamoss known as GT (Gracilaria sp.). The seamoss was originally carried out on floating bamboo rafts, which have been replaced since 1990 by the long-line method mainly due to its stronger resistance to wave action. The long-lines are made of polypropylene, 0.75-1 cm in diameter by 10-20 m long, suspended by used oil bottles and kept in position with concrete or metal anchors. The seamoss usually grow to the harvestable size within 4-6 weeks and are harvested at about 50 mm from the rope and usually individual plants are about 200 mm long. Production yields of GT grown on rafts is about 2 kg fresh weight per metre of the line in two months. At present, the total combined area approximately under production has been estimated at one hectare, divided in 20 culture units. The whole sector is currently being operated by 5 full-time and 15 part-time farmers. The majority of the culture plots are presently concentrated in the Southeast and some locations in the Southwest.

Aquaculture technologies

The technologies developed and/or adapted in Saint Lucia for the culture of the Asian Freshwater prawn, tilapia and seamoss appear to be at the right level, bearing in mind the size (i.e. relative small scale) of the aquaculture projects being developed. Some applied research is still required to improve the technologies in use, for example: Gracilaria strain improvement, prawn feed development, prawn stocking and feeding rates. It is generally felt, however, that the culture technologies of the commercially attractive species must be maintained at an easily transferable/digestible level, and also at a level which is financially affordable to the small-scale farmers.

Aquaculture statistics

The production of Tilapia and freshwater prawns from the facilities in operation in 1991 amounted to 67 kg and 266 kg respectively. Both marketable size products, i.e. one pound per fish and 10-15 prawns per pound are sold and consumed locally. The ex-farm price is US$ 1.11 and US$ 5.61 for a pound of live weight fish and prawns, respectively. With regard to seamoss, no reliable annual production estimates are available, and for this reason the Department of Fisheries organized a national workshop in August 2002 to inform and assist farmers to start a common production monitoring system. Although the production data has not been officially registered, seamoss cultivation in Saint Lucia can be considered as commercial in terms of sales and production potential of the country. The ex-farm price is approximately US$7.5 a pound of dried product.

III. POLICY MAKING, PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT

The Department of Fisheries (DOF) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is the public agency responsible for aquaculture policy-making and for the co-ordination of all planning and development efforts towards the sector. It is responsible for the acquisition of data and information, formulating policies, devising regulations and enforcing them as well as to provide technical assistance to existing farmers and interested investors. The DOF is headed by a Chief Fisheries Officer supported by a number of staff working in the various units. One of the above-mentioned staff, who has formal aquaculture training at the Diploma in Aquaculture Technology level, is presently responsible for aquaculture.

Aquaculture activities are included within a five-year management plan which was developed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Aquaculture activities are further elaborated in an annual work programme.

IV. TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES

Education and training

No academic institutions exist in Saint Lucia where in-depth education and training in marine biology or related subjects such as aquaculture can be obtained. Formal education can, however, be obtained at the University of the West Indies: either at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, Mona Campus in Jamaica and at the St. Augustine Campus in Trinidad and Tobago, although a specific programme in aquaculture is not available. Some practical training at the farmers’ level can be obtained locally in prawn culture at the government Beausejour Prawn Facility in Vieux-Fort, and in Tilapia rearing at the small government fish Hatchery located in the northern part of the island (Union Aquaculture Facility). The Vieux-Fort facility, originally constructed with funds donated by the Chinese Government (Taiwan), as part of an agriculture co-operation programme, has a hatchery and office/house building and four earth ponds totalling a surface area of approximately 0.5 hectares. The hatchery has been designed for a monthly output of one million post-larvae. The head of the Aquaculture Unit oversees the hatchery. Other staff include a Fisheries Assistant with certificate level training and two support workers with on the job training. The Fisheries Assistant assists in the breeding of the post-larvae.

Research

Basic applied aquaculture research on tilapia and prawns can be carried out at the existing Government facilities. However, the unavailability of laboratory apparatus and supplies and limited manpower, reduces the possibility of research outputs focused on the solutions of specific feed development.

NATIONAL REPORT OF SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

by

Jennifer Cruickshank
Fisheries Officer
Fisheries Division
Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries
Kingstown
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Tel: +1809-4562738
Fax: +1809-4572112
Email: fishdiv@caribsurf.com

I. GENERAL INFORMATION

Geography and Economy

Area

388 km²

Length of coastline

150 km

Shelf area

7 800 km²

Terrain

Mountainous volcanic island with rain forest cover on Saint Vincent, but drier and flatter in the Grenadines

Climate

Tropical

Population

110 022 (2001)

Annual growth rate

1.0% (2001)

Language

English (official)

Work force

58 000 (2001)

Unemployment rate

28% (1998)

GDP

US$ 289 million (2001)

GDP growth rate

2.84% (2001)

GDP per capita

US$ 2 655.00 (2001)

Central Gov’t budget

Recurrent Revenue US$ 96.2 Million (2000)


Recurrent Expenditure US$ 95.5 Million (2000)

Currency unit

Eastern Caribbean Dollar


US$ 1.00 = EC$ 2.71 (May 2002)

Agriculture

10.5% of GDP (2001)

Trade

Exports US$ 44.42 million (2001)


Imports US$ 185.77 million (2001)

Fisheries Data

Commodity balance (1999)

Fish for direct
human consumption

Production

Imports

Exports

Total supply

Per caput supply

‘000 mt live weight

kg/yr

1.71

0.19

0.10

0.80

12.50

Estimated employment (1999)


Primary sector

An estimated 2 500 part-time and full-time fishermen and occasional fishermen


Secondary sector

An estimated 2 000 working in marketing, fish vending, gutting/cleaning, boat building etc.

Gross value of fisheries output (at ex-vessel prices - 1999)

US$ 2.58 million

Trade (1999)


Value of imports

US$ 1 million


Value of exports

US$ 0.74 million

II. STATUS OF AQUACULTURE

In 1983 small-scale experiments on aquaculture of Oreochromis niloticus (from Dominica) as well as Macrobrachium sp. and Atya sp. were carried out by the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture at the Botanical Gardens. These experiments showed positive results and generated some interest among several sectors of the population, e.g. some primary schools and private individuals.

That same year a project from the Taiwan (Province of China) was established for the introduction of an agricultural development, with an aquaculture component which had the objectives of (i) promoting tilapia and freshwater prawn culture, and (ii) transferring the technology to local technicians. Unfortunately, this component of the project progressively faded because of lack of a local counterpart and was eventually phased out.

The site at Pembroke which was used (in the past) for the aquaculture demonstration site proved not to be appropriate, difference in water levels between the ponds and water supply was such that pumps had to be used to fill and empty the ponds. This increased the cost of production so that the aquaculture program was not economically viable. In addition, the soil composition at that site did not have a high water retention capability and if the site should be designated as an option in the future it is recommended that it would be necessary to line the ponds with clay soil to make them impermeable to water.

In March 2002, Mr. Lu Fong Gan, an Aquaculture Technician from the Republic of China (ROC/POC) visited Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), based on a request made to the Premier of the ROC by the Prime Minister of SVG during his visit to Saint Vincent in September 2001. The government of SVG requested the assistance of the government of the ROC/POC to evaluate the potential for the development of an aquaculture industry in the state. During discussions held between the Technical Mission and the Fisheries Division, the scope of the evaluation was outlined. The outline included an assessment of the fishery industry potential based on on-shore culture, sea cage culture and seaweed culture.

A team comprises of representatives from the ROC/POC and the Fisheries Division, SVG visited several sites on main land Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines islands of Union Island, Bequia and Canouan. A pre-evaluation for the development of an aquaculture industry in SVG was prepared and submitted by Mr Lu Fong Gan. The following are the findings:

Fresh water aquaculture

The difficulty of onshore aquaculture in Saint Vincent:

Because the country is small, areas suitable to locate fresh water aquaculture are limited. In addition the size of the population is a deterrent to development of a freshwater food-fish industry that would achieve the necessary economies of scale to be profitable. However, if the focus of implementing a fresh water aquaculture activity is the provision of employment and the satisfaction of the local and tourist markets then the project can be pursued with reservation.

During the evaluation process the Fisheries Division indicated several rivers where fresh water on shore aquaculture may have seemed viable, however with one exception, the difference in height between the river beds and their banks was so great that filling and draining problems would result. This problem could be resolved by either damming the river to raise the water level to that of the ponds or using a pump to fill and drain the ponds. Unfortunately, both resolutions would result in increasing the high cost of implementation.

Grant Sable is the only river with a potential for creating a pond through natural water flow but the available land area is only five acres. However, the project cannot be replicated anywhere else in the country as these optimum conditions do not exist elsewhere. Replication would be the key to economic viability.

Because the soil has a high component of sand it is loose and allows water to seep through. This problem can be solved by putting a layer of clay, or by lining the pond with plastic or by cementing the pond. This of course increases the investment cost.

The aforementioned difficulties can render attempts to develop on-shore aquaculture, even at a subsistence level, financially infeasible

Sea cage aquaculture

The leeward coast of main-island, Saint Vincent, is calm with some areas having depths of approximately 10 to 30m. These conditions would seem to be suitable for sea cage aquaculture. If the objective is to establish an industrial level sea cage culture in Saint Vincent, problems of natural disasters, inadequate feed supply and the cost of providing and maintaining other infrastructure and facilities necessary for the successful operation of this industry must be solved. If the necessary facility construction and maintenance hardware have to be imported, then the investment in setting up and maintaining this type of industry would not be cost effective.

There is one feed producing factory in Saint Vincent but its production is limited to the production of feed for livestock. At present it does not have the capacity to produce aquatic feed, especially the technology for producing the floating food required by sea cage culture fish. In addition organizing a sea cage culture industry on the basis of a small economy of scale and intermittent consumers would make economic viability very difficult if not impossible.

III. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Saint Vincent is constrained by the limitation of its topography, as it does not have areas that can be developed into viable fishponds. It would therefore be difficult to institute an on shore aquaculture industry under these conditions.

The country is surrounded by sea especially the Leeward side where the water is suitable for sea cage culture, however, the country is prone to natural disasters, for example, hurricanes. Sources of constant feed supply need to be identified and knowledge of the market to determine which variety should be exploited needs to be documented. This would require that a more advanced evaluation be conducted.

Since there are many reefs surrounding Saint Vincent it would seem that there is a ready supply of decorative tropical fish for which there is also a ready market. It is possible that research into the reproduction of these species can be conducted to start an exotic fish breeding and exporting industry. This type of fish requires low investment, low maintenance and has a high end-value.

It may also be possible to expand an existing high value resource for example lobster by using sea cages to catch and fatten them for sale to an already existing market.

NATIONAL REPORT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

by

Sherry Pierre
Fisheries Officer
Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture,
Forestry and Fisheries
Port-of-Spain
Trinidad and Tobago
Tel: +1868-6236026/8525
Fax: +1868-6348542
Email: mfau2fd@tstt.net.tt

I. GENERAL INFORMATION

Geography and Economy

Area

5 128 km²

Length of coastline

391 km

Shelf Area

80 000 km² (EEZ)

Terrain

Plains and low mountains

Climate

Tropical

Population

1163 724 (July 2002 est.)

Annual growth rate

-0.52% (2002 est.)

Language

English

Work force

563 400 (1999) - Construction and utilities 12.4%, manufacturing, mining, quarrying 14%, agriculture 9.5%, services 64.1% (1997 est.)

Unemployment rate

10.7% (2001)

GDP

US$ 10.6 billion (2001 est.)

GDP growth rate

3.5% (2001)

GDP per capita

US$ 9 000 (2001)

Inflation rate

5.5% (2001)

Central Government Budget

US$ 1.41 billion (2001 est.) revenues, US$ 1.2 billion (2001 est.) current expenditures including capital expenditure of US$ 930 million

Currency unit

Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TTD)


US$ 1.00 = TT$ 6.2314 (2001)

Agriculture

1.6% of GDP (2001). Products: cocoa, sugarcane, rice, citrus, coffee, poultry, fish, vegetables.

Industry

43.2% of GDP (2001). Types: petroleum, petrochemicals, tourism, processed food and beverages, cement, cotton textiles, printing and paper, assembly-type, chemicals and non-metallic minerals

Trade

Exports: US$ 3.2 billion (f.o.b. 2000) - crude oil, petroleum products, ammonia, fertilisers, methanol, iron/steel, cocoa, coffee, citrus, flowers, fish.

Imports

US$ 3 billion (f.o.b. 2000 est.) - industrial machinery, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, live animals.

Import-partners

USA 39.8%, Venezuela 11.9%, EU 11%, CARICOM 4.8% (1999)

Economic aid-recipient

US$ 24 million (1999 est.)

Fiscal year

1 October - September 30

Fisheries Data

Estimated employment

13 000 persons (1998)

Gross value of fisheries output (at ex-vessel prices - 2000)

US$ 100 million

Trade


Value of imports

US$ 3.94 million


Value of exports (2000)

US$ 10 million - 4 000 mt

II. STATUS OF AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION

Species cultured and technologies

Inland aquaculture

Aquaculture had its genesis in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1950s when petroleum companies introduced the freshwater cichlid, tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) indigenous to the African continent, into their cooling-water dams to control breeding of mosquitoes. Subsequent to this, tilapia was perceived as an answer to the protein deficiency problem facing the colonies of the British Empire, since it could provide a cheap food source for low-income groups. The Bamboo Grove Fish Farm was established to research the culture of tilapia and produce fingerlings for farmers.

The initial focus of the Ministry at the time was to promote small-scale and subsistence farming using small family ponds in rural communities where marine fish was not readily available. Farmers were encouraged to use dams, irrigation channels and ponds to rear fish such as the red hybrid and silver variety and the indigenous catfish known as the cascadura (Hoplosternum littorale). Fish farming was an integrated activity with other types of farming such as animal husbandry, rice farming and other crop farming in order to maximize total food production within their holding.

Due to the poor marketability of the black tilapia, and following a recommendation of an Aquaculture Review Commission established by the Ministry of Food Production and Marine Exploitation (MFPMR) in 1986, the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) started an aquaculture unit with red hybrid and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). In 1985, the IMA and Professor Kenny of University of the West Indies also introduced the Asian freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii to Trinidad. In 1988, La Vega Limited imported Cherax quadricarinatus, and the Australian red claw crawfish. Among the indigenous species, the river conch, Pomacea urceus, was also successfully cultured by the IMA in the late 1980s.

In 1989, Caroni (1975) entered into commercial aquaculture. The pilot phase consisted of a multi-purpose hatchery and 9.5 hectares of earthen ponds. The company initially produced Malaysian prawns (1990-1995), and then focus shifted to the production of red hybrid tilapia. Cascadura was produced during the period 1992-1993. At the Government operated Bamboo Grove Fish Farm, a prawn hatchery was established in 1991 with technical assistance from Taiwan (Province of China). However, this project was never developed to realize its potential and it was discontinued when the Chinese left one year later. Also, in the mid-1980s, two farms were established: a tilapia farming venture on the eastern side of the Caroni swamp and a pilot project for shrimp at Brickfield. Neither ventures succeeded and were eventually closed down.

The Sugar Cane Feed is another demonstration facility of the MALMR, which was established to formulate feeds for the livestock industry utilizing sugarcane by-products. In 1988, an aquaculture project was established with the culture of the red and silver hybrid tilapia, and the cascadura, using 0.4 hectare pond area. The project was expanded by a further 0.5 hectare in 1990. The SFC advocated an integrated farming approach to agriculture and aquaculture. In 1988, a 3-hectare farm was established in Plum Mitan to culture cascadu on a semi-intensive basis. In parallel a commercial fish hatchery was established in Gran Couva to provide fingerlings for the fish farm. These projects initially went well but disease and larceny problems developed which impacted negatively on operations. The hatchery subsequently entered into ornamental fish production and eventually ceased operations due to an irregular supply of water.

In the early 1990s, the red hybrid was the major freshwater fish species cultured throughout the country on a small-scale. Other freshwater species being cultured to a small extent were the Nile and black tilapias and the armoured catfish, Hoplosternum littorale. The IMA has conducted a number of hatching trials of the freshwater prawn and has supplied post-larvae to several small-scale fish farmers. After the poor success experienced with the culture of the red hybrids by most aqua farmers, the Wallerfield Fish Hatchery attempted to re-introduce the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus, as a new species in 1997, with the hope that claims of its growth potential would stimulate interest in purchasing fingerlings. The hatchery was capable of producing 1 million O. niloticus fingerlings yearly. But in the absence of external farms and available land for grow out; production was curtailed until the industry can absorb this output.

The ornamental fish industry has a longer history and there are about six large-scale producers who also export. There are approximately thirty-nine small to medium-size breeders who concentrate on the rearing of several exotics and indigenous species. The major species produced are: Angels, Barbs, Goldfish, Danios, Swordtail hellaries, Mollies, Platies, African cichlids, Bettas, Kois, Tetras, Rainbow fish, Gouramies, Oscars, White clouds, Tetas, Guppies and Pui-Pui. The latter three species are indigenous to Trinidad and are usually harvested from rivers in rural areas. Stocking studies are currently be undertaken by the IMA to restore wild stocks of teta, which is currently overexploited.

Coastal aquaculture

Presently no commercial coastal aquaculture operations exist in Trinidad and Tobago. Attempts have been made to culture various species of penaeid shrimps (Penaeus monodon and Penaeus vannamei), however, to date none of the former farms and pilot projects are in operation. Presently, there is little or no interest in coastal aquaculture activities. Until the early 1990’s, there was a strong market demand for the mangrove oyster (Crassostrea rhizophorae). The above-mentioned oyster was once very abundant in the Caroni and Nariva Swamps. However, due to over-harvesting, the numbers are much reduced and now collected mainly from the Claxton Bay region. Additionally, the vending of oyster cocktails, which was a major source of oyster sales, was significantly affected when a ban was imposed on vending in 1994 due to sanitary concerns. This enterprise was never able to recover even though in 1996, the Oyster Vendors Association attempted to save the industry by proposing a culture project in the Caroni swamp. The project was to be funded by a Florida based agency but for reasons, which are unclear, the project was never started. In 1995, mariculture trials were conducted using seamoss, Gracilaria sp. and the carangids, Trachinotus sp.

Aquaculture technologies

Several reasons have been cited for the failure of aquaculture in Trinidad and Tobago. Among those reasons are the following: the transfer of inappropriate production technologies to farmers, the subsistence technology that is used in small backyard production units, and the use of extensive culture systems that are not commercially viable and or will not ensure the sustainability of an industry. Also, failure in the use of sex-reversal technology to produce all male fingerlings for stocking of production ponds has made it difficult for farmers to manage production units ultimately resulting in poor yields at harvest time. The recent thrust of the Fisheries Division has been sensitising the national community about aquaculture, and encouraging commercial scale production units of ½-acre to 1-acre minimum size and minimum production capacity of 5 acres or 2 hectares. Incentives are being given to farmers, effective 1999, which meet these minimum criteria.

Aquaculture statistics

The total number of registered fish farmers in December 1991 was 1 020 while the total area of ponds (ranging in size from 0.05 to 5.0 hectares) amounted to approximately 120 hectares compared to the 23 hectares in production in 1985. Most of the 1028 farmers practised small extensive backyard fish farming and they were located in the countries of Caroni, St Patrick and Victoria. No mechanism had been put in place by the Fisheries Division to collect data on these Freshwater Fisheries. However, in 1999, a telephone survey was conducted to identify the number of practising food fish farmers in the nation.

Of the fifty-three existing farmers identified in that survey, forty-three were determined to be cascadura subsistence and small-scale farmers who depended largely on capture fisheries for brood stock and even market supply. Four of these projects practised polyculture with Tilapia. The Sugarcane Feed Centre, the Bamboo Grove Fish Farm and Caroni (1975) Ltd. were also counted among the fifty-three. However, Caroni Aquaculture Division closed down all production operations by late 1998 and the Bamboo Grove Fish Farm was divested in 1999. The lessee has only recently (2002) initiated small-scale production at this facility.

Generally, it was discovered that Tilapia production was not being practised on a wide scale. The Fisheries Division established one, 0.2 hectare, pond in each of two rural communities as demonstration projects. This initiative attempted to encourage both a co-operative approach to production, as well as to seed other production units. In each case, only male O. niloticus fingerlings were stocked. Two more community-based projects were established between 2000-2001 providing additional five, 0.2 hectare, production ponds and a capacity of 23 tonnes of fish yearly. These demonstration projects helped to provide valuable hands-on training to community members but once the Division withdrew financial support for a project no further investment in the project was found.

No reliable production statistics are available to date, however, the Aquaculture Unit of the Fisheries Division, reported that in 1991 approximately 2.5 metric tonnes of fresh fish were sold, mainly red-hybrid tilapia. The combined production figure for the cultured freshwater fish species is likely to be an underestimate as very little of the total production reaches the local markets. Tilapia, as well as the highly regarded cascadura, usually serves the farmer and his immediate family. The former species are rarely sold, while the cascadura, when sold, is taken to the produce market and retailed by the farmer to his/her agent at TT$ 44/kg. The SFC produces about 2 tonnes of fish yearly but since research and not production is the emphasis this quantity is not guaranteed.

The Central Statistical Office only commenced the collection of production data for the cultured food fish industry in 1998, and the information is limited to that supplied by Caroni (1975) Ltd. Over the period 1990 to 1996, Caroni (1975) Ltd was the largest producer of cultured food fish in the country and accounted for an estimated 98% of the Malaysian prawns produced, 80% of the cascadura produced and 70% of the tilapia produced. It is reported that in 1991, Caroni (1975) Ltd produced 5.2 metric tonnes from 5.5 hectares. Table II, below, provides data for the period 1990 to 1996. By 1999, no projects were established which cultured freshwater prawns.

YEAR

SPECIES
(Quantity in Kg & Value in US$)

Tilapia

Value

Cascadura

Value

Prawn

Value

1990

1250

1,600

2000

12,000

-

-

1991

1250

1,600

1250

8,100

5200

20,000

1992

2500

1,600

4000

16,900

2000

4,000

1993

2800

4,000

2500

9,600

2500

8,800

1994

16000

23,460

1250

4,100

2500

9,600

1995

16000

2,300

1200

4,000

3000

12,900

1996

18000

29,000

1200

4,000

500

1,600

In 1999, Wallerfield Fish Hatchery produced approximately 200,000 fingerlings and 10 tonnes of fish. In 2000 approximately 50 000 fingerlings and 15 tonnes of fish were produced. In 2001 and 2002 there was no production. The Nariva Aquafarms is a twenty-acre farm, which initiated its production operation in 1999. From 1999 to 2001, half tonne of cascadura was produced each year. In 2000, half tonne of red hybrid tilapia was produced in earthen ponds. In 2001, two tonnes of fish were produced. In 2001, approximately 3.6 tonnes of fish were harvested from two community projects. In 2001, the two projects yielded almost 2.4 tonnes fish.

In the ornamental fish trade, expanding export markets have been identified in North America and Europe. In 1999, 10 ornamental fish exporters sold a total of 1 375 000 fish generating on income of approximately US$ 130 000. These figures are believed to be under-estimated. It must be noted, however, that not all of these fishes were produced locally by aquaculture, and that some are captured from local rivers while others are imported from South America using Trinidad as a transhipment point.

III. POLICY MAKING, PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT

The Fisheries Division (FD) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources (MALMR) is the official agency responsible for the management and development of the fishery sector, including aquaculture. The major role of Fisheries Division is the development, organisation and regulatory support to the industry through policymaking and strategy implementation. Extension, training and information services are also provided via the assistance of the Fisheries Officer and the scientific assistant.

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago, in its macro-economic policy framework (MTPF 2001-2003) enunciated its overarching strategy for Aquaculture as ‘A Strategy for generating additional employment in the sector include-increasing access of farmers, fisher folk and aquaculturalists to agricultural credit’. The MTPF also states that ‘In respect of marine fisheries and aquaculture, Government, as part of its efforts to promote sustainable management of natural resources, will seek to provide institutional and infrastructural support to fisher folk and aquaculturalists; and establish links with national and international agencies for the necessary financial and technical support’. The role of the State is also articulated in the Sector Policy for the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources (2001-2005) as follows: “The State will facilitate private sector activity by producing public goods and services in support of private sector activity and improved livelihood for citizens. The MALMR considers the aspect of enforcement of regulations and provision of certification, including but not limited to public health and food safety as essential. The Ministry will accommodate the needs of stakeholders for speedy and transparent decisions and actions in the conduct of its regulatory and certification responsibilities”. The facilitative role of the State includes its functions with respect to development and enforcement of regulations and standards for quality assurance, also intervene in markets, for limited periods, to assure supply of some ‘strategic’ goods not provided by the private sector’.

In 1997, a task force consisting of six representatives from the UWI, IMA, SFC and Fisheries Division was appointed to formulate an aquaculture policy for the benefit of the emerging industry. Dr Indar Ramnarine headed the task force and a draft aquaculture policy document was produced. This document has undergone two to three revisions, but it is still to be finalised before being sent forward for cabinet consideration.

IV. TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES

Education and training

The only institution in Trinidad and Tobago, which carries out formal education at the graduate level in the field of biology and related subjects, is the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI). The Department of Zoology has no specific programme in aquaculture, however, courses on fishery/aquaculture/estuarine sciences are available as part of the zoology degree. The UWI, however, expressed interest on a possible tough M.Sc. course in fisheries and aquaculture, provided that it is fully conducted in only one of its campuses. It is generally felt that there would be sufficient interest for such a course, which could be conducted on alternate years.

Hands-on training can be received at the Institute of Marine Affairs and at the small Aquaculture Unit of the Sugarcane Feeds Centre. The Fisheries Division has for the last two years (2000-2002) been offering an intensive six-day training course in Food Fish Farming. In the last fiscal period, the Introduction to Ornamentals and Integrated Farming was introduced for the benefit of the emerging industry.

Research

The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) is an autonomous government institute established with the following objectives to:

The Pilot Aquaculture Project was initiated at the IMA in 1985 and was intended to conduct field and laboratory trials with a view to identifying potentially suitable culture species for Trinidad and Tobago. In former years, production and culture trials were conducted on the cascadura (H. littorale), the red hybrid tilapia and the freshwater giant prawn (M. rosenbergii). Some work was also being carried out with the Nile tilapia (O. niloticus), the freshwater black conch (Pomacea urcea) and seamoss (Gracilaria spp.). IMA’s applied research concentrated on the following topics:

The output of this research is the documentation of several manuals by Paul Gabbadon and Gregory DeSouza for the benefit of potential and existing aqua farmers.

The Institute is equipped with office space, a library, an analytical laboratory for water analysis, a wet laboratory, hatchery, nursery and nine small earth ponds (total surface area approximately 0.5 hectares). Presently, the research of the Aquaculture Division is directed to the ornamental industry with regard to fish pathology, culture techniques and re-introduction of wild stocks into their natural environment. There is greater emphasis on environmental studies and some of the professional staff have moved into providing technical consultancy on environmental issues.

The Sugarcane Feeds Centre (SFC) is conducting culture and production trials on the river conch for very little is known on the feeding requirements and the reproductive behaviour of this local delicacy.

The Life Sciences Department of the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, has been carrying out some basic studies on freshwater and brackish water species of commercial interest. The campus is not equipped with research aquaculture facilities, however the Bamboo Grove Fish Farm (BGFF) was divested to Dr I. Ramnarine who is a senior lecturer at the Department of Life Sciences, UWI. Dr I. Ramnarine together with the university students are therefore able to continue developing and implementing applied fishery research projects utilizing the facilities at BGFF.

Technical assistance and extension

The Sugar Feed Centre and Fisheries Division continue to provide technical assistance and extension services to farmers. However, this service is not in demand as much as the need for training. The above centres usually provide, free of charge, the following assistance:

The objectives of the Aquaculture Extension Programme are:

The Sugarcane Feeds Centre, with its small hatchery and few culture ponds, has adopted an open-door policy where all interested parties can observe and receive advice on the management of small-scale cascadura and tilapia operations. The Institute of Marine Affairs also provides technical assistance and extension services to fish farmers in the form of hands-on technical workshops, seminars and technical manuals.

In 2001, National Flour Mills (NFM) hosted a seminar on ‘Tilapia Feeds and Nutrition’ conducted by the American Soybean Association. The follow-up to this was another seminar in May 2002 on ‘Achieving Optimum Efficiency in Aquaculture Production’. The NFM entered the aquaculture industry in 2000 as a commercial producer of starter and grow-out extruded fish feeds. This business initiative was undertaken in order to supply the Jamaican market where demand was not being met by supply. This organisation has decided to promote aquaculture production in Trinidad and Tobago and consequently, it is expected that seminars of this nature will continue in the future.

V. POTENTIAL FOR AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENT

Physical potential

Trinidad and Tobago are the southern-most islands of the Lesser Antilles chain in the Caribbean. Trinidad, the largest island of the chain, is separated from Venezuela by the 11 kilometre-wide strait of the Gulf of Paria. Three relatively low mountain ranges cross Trinidad from east to west. Their highest elevation reaches 940 metres in the heavily forested Northern Range. Between the northern and central ranges the land is flat and well watered; between the central and southern ranges it is rolling, and the water supply often falls short in the dry season. Tropical forest covers half of the island. Swamps are found along part of the east and west coasts. The island’s low latitude places it outside the usually path of hurricanes. The island of Tobago lies 30 kilometres northeast of Trinidad and is characterized by long stretches of sandy beaches and a ridge of volcanic origin which lies along the centre of the island.

The suitability of Trinidad and Tobago for aquaculture was discussed in the 1998 FAO document ‘A strategic assessment of the potential for freshwater fish farming in the Caribbean island states’. Six major criteria were used for the evaluation exercise:

Trinidad and Tobago scored high on the basis of the importance placed on annual water loss; soil conditions were also determined to be favourable. Generally, good quality water in adequate supply is found on the eastern side of Trinidad in the Oropouche, Nariva and Ortoire basin and along the north coast between Chupara and Grand Riviere. With regard to freshwater swampland, extensive unpolluted areas are available at Nariva in the east and Los Blarquizales in the southwest.

Most of the more extensive areas of brackish water swamp are under pollution risk, but the southern half of the Caroni Swamp and the Fullarton Swamp still have reasonably good quality water. Sheltered marine areas suitable for mariculture are available in the Gulf of Paria but pollution and other commercial activities is a serious problem. Other bays on the North coast, such as Teteron Bay, Chacachacare Bay, Maracas Bay, Las Cuevas Bay, Cyril Bay, Man-of-War Bay and Bloody Bay can be effectively used. If mariculture is to be done in ponds or tanks next to the marine environment, then there are other potential sites on the South and East Coasts. In Tobago, good quality freshwater is available in limited quantities. Excellent conditions are available for mariculture in Buccoo and Bon Accord and in the deeper West Coast bays.

Species

The aquaculture industry as a whole is still at an early stage of development and the potential for expansion exists. However, factors such as market demand, availability of technology and resources must all be taken into account in order to determine whether the culture of any particular species is economically attractive and justifiable. A brief survey of local species indicated that Trinidad and Tobago have many organisms with value for culturing.

These organisms as well as a number of non-endemic species would fill the various needs in the country, i.e. as basic or luxury food items, recreational fishing and aquarium export trade. Some species could be successfully and profitably cultured within one or two growing seasons (e.g. cascadura, mullet and oysters), while other require more research before their future economic returns can be assessed (e.g. queen conch, crabs, marine plants, marine shrimps).

Beside tilapia, cascadura and the giant freshwater prawn, the potential exists for the following types of culture.

Finance

The Aquaculture Task Force reported that one of the major impediments to the development of the industry is the stringent requirements in accessing available capital. The Task Force was of the view that the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) should provide the best available loan conditions for aquaculture projects. Under the Agricultural Incentive Programme, there is an integrated package of fiscal incentives to stimulate greater interest for investors in the industry. These include duty-free concessions on aquaculture equipment and some supplies, corporate tax reductions to fish processors, and rebates for pond construction, rehabilitation of ponds, construction of wells, pumps, vehicles, and minor equipment. A waver of charges on water used is being discussed. No taxes are paid on agricultural holdings of with less than 100 acres in production.

VI. FISH HANDLING, PROCESSING AND MARKETING

Aquaculture production is mainly subsistence in nature with a very small portion of the catch being marketed-fresh to local consumers. Presently none of the existing fish processing plants handle aquaculture products, mainly due to the small annual outputs. However, should production from aquaculture substantially increase, there are adequate fish processing plants to absorb the raw material for processing into value-added products.

Marketing information and facilities have been identified as major constraints to the development of the aquaculture industry in Trinidad and Tobago. Presently, there is little or no current market information available to the industry. Production decisions are made in the absence of adequate market information and as such, producers are probably not able to maximize their potential and exploit market demands. The Aquaculture Task Force recommended that the National Agricultural Marketing Development Co-operation, with the assistance of the Export Development Corporation (folded in 1993) and various trade missions, develop a comprehensive marketing information gathering system, which would provide important information on a regular basis to the industry.

With regard to marketing facilities it has been recognised that adequate storage facilities are not available as well as the need for an efficient and low cost supply of packaging materials. There is also need for greater co-ordination among agencies involved in the inspection of fisheries and aquaculture exports. The strengthening of the organisation and support services to the industry is recognised as a priority to enhance the development of the sector.

VII. CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

There is need for a proper marketing study to be conducted, which would identify the potential markets for Trinidad and Tobago fish and fishery freshwater products including market characteristics, product requirements, competitive producers, market prices and so on. The only marketing study to date was conducted by IMA into consumer preferences for tilapia on the basis of freshness, features and colour, in the early 1990s. There exists a cultural bias in the country for fresh marine fish and consumers are generally unwilling to consider alternatives of like tastes unless they are prepared, processed and packed for convenience. Aquaculture products are therefore niche products at present; acceptance being mainly in the rural communities. There is need to organise public awareness and education programmes aimed at promoting fresh water fish consumption.

Although aquaculture activities have been in existence for over fifty years in Trinidad and Tobago, the fishery has yet to develop commercially. It is believed that this can be achieved via the establishment of an Aquaculture Management Authority (AMU), to oversee the development and implementation of a National Aquaculture programme. This institution would facilitate cooperation and collaboration among all stakeholders, including government institutions, non-government organizations NGOs, private investors and fish farmers. A determination of the domestic protein requirements measured against local production and quantities lost to the local market through exports can be used as a basis for setting production targets and a production plan must be formulated. The AMU would also be responsible for marketing fish and fishery products as well as training and monitoring the progress of projects.

There are about three investors who have proposed lucrative commercial-scale inland fishery projects to the Government of 40.5 hectares (100 acres) upward but implementation is hindered because of the long delays in being provided with a lease agreement. This is in part due to political issues not to mention that land is at a premium and the competition with other economic interests is intense. Lands have not been identified in the MALMR for Aquaculture in like manner to lands reserved for agriculture. To facilitate this process there is need for a detailed technical and economic feasibility study to investigate opportunities and provide specific options for profitable investment.

In summary, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and the private sector seem seriously committed to the promotion and development of the aquaculture industry. However, the implementation of policy and other measures are not being pursued with the necessary vigour and determination to continue to motivate the private sector. As a result, the private investors are undertaking bold initiatives to encourage market interest and to lobby the Government. One such initiative is the establishment of the Aquaculture Society of Trinidad and Tobago, which replaces the Fisheries Society, which became dormant in 1994.

Other issues to be addressed to facilitate this fragile industry include:

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