Grenada island (344 km2), the most southerly of the caribbean windward islands, is about 241 km southwest of Barbados and 145 km northwest of Trinidad. The State of Grenada also includes the 2 Carriacou and Petit Martinique islands (respectively 35 km2 and 2 km2).
The center of the island is a verdant rain forest and the southern coast has many white and sandy beaches. Grenada is a volcanic island. It is traversed by a mountain ridge that forms a spine down the length of the island (highest peak : 840 m). 3 lakes have formed in the craters of extinct volcanoes along that ridge. The littoral coast of the island can be described as follows :
On the west coast : steep cliffs are dominating while alternating with flat outlets of rivers. The slopes of these rivers are high but, the outlets are usually small and flat alluvial plains few centimeters above the mean sea level ;
On the north-east coast : flat alluvial plains are dominating. Here is located the biggest river of the island (Great River) ;
On the south-east coast : here, the large protected bays are dominating. The extremity of the bays usually consists of a river outlet associated with an alluvial platform.
The climate is tropical. A mild dry season lasts from January to May with night temperatures dropping to 16–18°C. The rest of the year is wet with mean temperature about 30–32°C. Rainfalls vary from 1500 mm/year in the coastal areas to about 4000–6000 mm/year in the mountain. The eastern part of the island (leeward area) is the most rainy and thus includes the biggest rivers. With a smaller surface and lower mountains, Carriacou has an average rainfall of 1300 mm only.
The temperature of the marine waters is almost constant throughout the year between 28 and 30°C. Salinity ranges between 35 and 37‰. The island is under the influence of the general north-east to south-west current.
The estimated population in 1985 was 94000 with an annual growth rate of 0.9 % (1977–1982). Most of Grenada's population is of african descent and about 30 % of the population are concentrated around the capital St-Georges. The rest are distributed all over the island, mainly on small farms. From 1960 to 1976, the population grew only 0.5 % annually due to a high emigration. Furthermore political factors in the recent past have resulted in increased emigration and a stable population. About 50 % of the population are under the age of 25.
Grenada's economy is based on agriculture with tourism becoming progressively an important source of foreign currency. The main crops are fresh fruits, vegetables, cocao, bananas and nutmeg (Grenada is the second world producer of nutmeg after Indonesia). The industry (light industry only) remains a marginal sector and accounts for 4 % only in the Gross National Product.
In 1984, the G.N.P. increased by about 0.4 %. However, so far, the foreign grants and loans play a non-negligible role in the Grenada's economy. In conclusion, Grenada's economy is improving but is still very weak with a heavy debt and an unemployment about 20–25 % (in 1985).
The private sector investment (domestic and foreign) is now seen as the main engine of economic development. The new Government has already decided to divest itself of selected state entreprises and to reformulate tax and investment laws to give new incentives to potential investors.
In 1986, 1255 fishermen are registred for 590 boats (size ranging from 10 to 26 feet). It is important to notice that almost all the boats fish on the continental shelf (3100 km2).
Various fishing methods are utilized such as seine nets (mainly beach seines on the west coast from February to September), long line and trolling (from December-January to May-June), handline, fish-traps and gillnets all year round and scuba diving.
The official catches by type of fishing from 1980 are summarized in the following table (source : Artisanal Fisheries Project, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries).
|Year||Total catches||Demersal catches||Seine catches||Large pelagics|
|1980||1 700||126||131||1 153|
|1981||1 606||130||245||1 232|
The major species in the catches by type of fishing are usually :
With seines : Jacks, bonitos, herrings, flying fish, etc ;
With longline and trolling : tuna, king fish, barracuda, dolfin fish, skipjack, bonitos, etc ;
With handline traps and gillnets : grouper, snapper, etc ;
With scuba diving : spiny lobster, conch, turtles.
Per capita fish consumption was 41,2 kg/year in 1980 (26 kg in 1975).
The development of fisheries is locally hampered by the lack of suitable infrastructures such as :
Freezing and chill rooms : 6 freezing rooms (maximal capacity 5 tons each) and 3 chill rooms only (maximal capacity 5 tons each) ;
Refrigerated trucks : 2 small refrigerated trucks only which belong to the Artisanal Fisheries Project ;
Ice making plant : one plant in Melville.
Most of fish is directly marketed at the landing site, without processing.
Fish purchased by vendors is often transported without refrigeration to individual buyers and markets. In Carriacou and Petit Martinique, foreign ice-carrying vessels usually anchor in the area and purchase high value fish (grouper, snapper, etc) directly to the fishermen. The product is then sold in other islands such as french Martinique that pay a better price for the product.
Fishing in Grenada is a traditional activity that gives low profit except for those who, punctually, can export high value products such as lobsters, snappers, groupers, etc.
However, it is clear there is room for a large expansion of that sector in Grenada (for both the domestic and the export markets) provided :
Local infrastructures be developed ;
On board refrigeration facilities be available ;
Fishing gears be improved ;
Some boats have access to deeper seas ;
Fishermen be trained to modern fishing technics and to the required fish handling and processing technics.
The aquaculture sector in Grenada can be considered as non-existent. As a matter of fact :
There is no commercial farm in Grenada ; neither in freshwater nor in seawater ;
There is no governmental research program under course ;
There is no aquaculture research facilities in Grenada ;
Only one public officer is permanently working on the perspective of aquaculture in Grenada. He was recruited in September 1986 by the “Artisanal Fisheries Project” and acted as counterpart of the consultants during their mission.
However, 2 local projects have drawn the attention of the consultants, they are :
One small freshwater prawn project in Grand-bras (close to Grenville on the east coast) organized and managed by Mr SOOKRAN (Teacher in the Teacher's college, St-Georges). Few thousands juveniles of Macrobrachium rosenbergii were imported from Guadeloupe and stocked in a 400 m2 grow-out pond (earth made) with gravity water supply from the river. Considering :
The design of the pond and the hydraulic network that can be considerably improved ;
The lack of know-how and the difficulty to carry out a follow up of the experimentation.
The consultants consider the results are promising (about 200–300 kg of market size animals have been harvested) and confirm that freshwater prawn culture has high potentialities in Grenada.
One king crab culture project (Mithrax spinosissimus) financed and managed by a private investor (Mrs Bartels) in Carriacou. That project, too, looks very promising. It is described in details in the section III, 2.5 of the present report.
In conclusion, aquaculture development has not yet started in Grenada. However, that development is now under course in many neighbouring countries of the caribbean region.
The present status of aquaculture can be described as follows :
Governmental research facilities carrying out specific applied aquaculture research programs are present in : Florida, French Martinique, French Guyana, Bahamas, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Most of the programs concern marine fishes, oysters, and algae culture ;
For marine shrimp culture (Penaeid spp) : a total of 5 300–5 500 ha are about to be implemented in a zone including Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Trinidad, Haïti, Dominican Rep., Jamaïca and Puerto Rico ;
For freshwater prawn culture (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) : a total of 600 ha of commercial grow-out ponds (with about 10 small and big hatcheries) are or will be soon in operation in a region including French West Indies, French Guyana, Trinidad, St Lucia, Dominique, Jamaïca, Puerto Rico, Dominican Rep., Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Salvador ;
Some projects on freshwater fishes (mainly Tilapia) also exist in the region. However, their development is far behind these of shrimps and prawns culture ;
For Lambi culture (Scombrus gigas), a specific applied research program is presently carried out in “Turks and Caïcos” (close to Jamaïca). It mainly concerns production in hatchery and restocking of the juveniles in the wild.
4.1.1. Technical factors
Top quality of the waters for both marine and freshwater aquaculture.
No risk of pollution.
About 90 ha of flat lands suitable for aquaculture are available on the coastal areas (furthermore, many of them belong to the Government). About 100 ha for the whole Grenada Island (inland areas included).
Large protected bays, mainly in the south-east of Grenada.
Availability of freshwater supply by gravity.
4.1.2. Socio-economic factors
Possibility to produce locally an aquaculture feed (mainly with imported goods) as the local feed manufacturer (Agro-Industries) is a subsidiary of the Continental Grain Group (already involved in Ecuador and in French Guadeloupe where it produces a pellet for freshwater prawn).
Nota : discussions were held between the manager of the firm and the consultants team. An accurate cost estimate was made for a locally manufactured freshwater prawn pellet. The suggested formula is the one of the presently produced feed in Guadeloupe;
Some neighbouring countries in the caribbean region such as Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guyana, United States, etc, have already locally developed various forms of aquaculture. They could technically support (technical assistance programs, etc) aquaculture programs in Grenada in both the public and the private sectors.
Cheap labour cost that would make more competitive an aquaculture based on export.
Possibility of incentives for private local and foreign investors.
4.2.1. Technical factors
As in many of the caribbean islands, many species are usually harvested with beach seines. However, the natural concentration of fry of high value species such as snappers, groupers and marine shrimps are too low to start any aquaculture activity on a wild fry basis.
A previously described ; flat lands (about 90 ha) are available in the coastal areas. However they are scattered and the maximal available surface on 1 site is about 45 ha. Such sizes are too small, with the presently available aquaculture technics, for industrial farms to be competitive on an international export market.
As the activity is unknown in the country, there is presently no skilled staff available in both the private and public sectors.
4.2.2. Socio-economic factors
Energy cost is very high (about 0,45 EC or 0,17 US $ per industrial Kwh). That means that any energy consuming form of aquaculture should be avoided (except for hatcheries that have relatively low requirements).
The insular situation will always increase the daily problems of logistic.
In the present situation of the banking system, the lack of capital and the required collateral will hamper the development of aquaculture at the level of the small owners (farmers, fishermen, etc).