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2.1 Characteristics of production in the region
2.2 Regional production data
2.3 Production systems and practices in the region
2.4 Producers in the region
2.5 Organizations of producers
2.6 Financial investment by public and private enterprises
2.7 Technical assistance projects in the sub-sector
2.8 Capital assistance to the sub-sector

2.1 Characteristics of production in the region

The Greater Antilles, with a total surface area of 201 970 km2, are substantial land masses ranging between 114 524 km2 (Cuba) and 10 962 km2 (Jamaica) and have both freshwater resources as well as good, protected brackish and coastal environments appropriate for aquaculture production.

In these countries production is based mainly on the cultivation of tilapias and carps as inexpensive sources of protein for local consumption, and of freshwater prawns, oysters and, more recently, penaeid shrimps to supply the tourist and local restaurant trade as well as for exports to generate foreign currency.

The biogeographic environments characteristic of the region offer limited possibilities for the development of freshwater aquaculture, especially in the Lesser Antilles where freshwater resources and flat land are scarce (see Table 4). Moreover the native inland aquatic fauna is not rich and, as none of the native species seems suitable for cultivation, aquaculture in turn will have to depend on the limited range of introduced species which can be adapted to the local prevailing conditions.

Due to these natural constraints, and to the high demand for seafood, aquaculture projects are mainly devoted to the production of high-value species.

2.2 Regional production data

The gross production of aquaculture in the region in 1986 stood at about 20 000 t. Cuba alone contributed with 80% (16 835 t) of which 15 356 t were freshwater fish (namely tilapia) produced through culture-based fisheries practised in its nearly 1 000 km2 of water impoundments and reservoirs. The production in the region is summarized in the following table, and a list of species cultivated in the region and summary of activities are given in Table 5, Annex I:

In Cuba fish production has increased on average 8.2% throughout the present decade, aquaculture having contributed significantly. Although the annual population growth rate has been 1%, fish consumption has increased by 4.6%. The national food programme attempts to furnish enough protein intake through the supply of fish, especially to areas and population centres where other protein sources are less readily accessible. Processed and canned fish products marketed increased from 36.6% in 1976-80 to 56.2% in 1981-84.

The second largest producer is Jamaica where aquaculture has established itself as a viable industry. Production is entirely based on the culture of Tilapia nilotica, or its red hybrid, which have had good acceptability among consumers in both rural and urban markets and the tourist trade.

Aquaculture Production in the Region in 1986




Marine Algae







15 356

1 134


16 835

Dominican Republic















2 600



2 632





St. Lucia



St. Christopher



Turks and Caicos



US Virgin Islands




18 016

1 516



20 584

Source: FAO Fish. Circ. No. 815 (1989)

Freshwater fish culture in general does not look like becoming a self-sustaining economic activity in the smaller islands. Marine aquaculture, on the other hand, may be more important for the region as a whole as is demonstrated by the increasing production of both crustaceans and molluscs and, more recently, by marine fish species.

Although not necessarily significant in terms of total volumes produced, small-scale aquaculture is practised in many countries of the region. This practice makes up production (predominantly tilapia, carps, armoured catfish, colossoma, and prawns) which is consumed locally, typically at source or in the coastal/rural areas.

Production of molluscs is also increasing throughout the region as technologies for their culture are disseminated to producers. This has been spurred by the fact that most natural beds of molluscs have been over-exploited as a consequence of the traditionally high demand both internally and abroad. Concern over the decline of stocks has led to extensive research on the mass rearing of juveniles to re-establish or replenish depleted natural populations.

Semi-intensive culture of mangrove oysters (Crassostrea rhizophorae) is presently practised in Cuba (1 134 t), Jamaica (12 t), Grenada (10 t), and more recently in the Dominican Republic. The queen conch (Strombus gigas) is the other mollusc species being cultured in the region. 360 t are reportedly produced on a commercial scale in Turks and Caicos.

Although it had been anticipated that among the crustaceans the freshwater prawn would become the most important species in terms of aquaculture, producers and investors have turned their attention toward the cultivation of penaeid shrimp. Its production is rapidly increasing, especially due to the considerable number of foreign investors and institutions which are becoming involved in its cultivation in the region. Local governments are recognizing the importance of this activity as a means of generating foreign exchange and are therefore encouraging investment in this sector. Production of Macrobrachium rosenbergii is well established in the Dominican Republic (117 t), Guadeloupe (46 t), and Martinique (54 t), where the French Government has financed several assistance projects (see Sections 2.8 and 3.9). In the former country Macrobrachium production is channelled to the local tourist trade while that of Guadeloupe and Martinique is mainly exported to France. There have been a few attempts to produce the king crab (Mithrax spinosissimus), notably in Antigua and Grenada, although they have not gone beyond the experimental phase.

2.3 Production systems and practices in the region

In the Caribbean the present production systems and practices are the result of the adaptive research conducted by the governmental counterpart agencies in receipt of foreign technical assistance projects. These research efforts have generally been oriented toward devising a system which would produce aquatic organisms as efficiently as the geographical, physical, cultural, and financial conditions of each particular island would permit.

In Jamaica the system of tilapia farming thus devised under the assistance of two projects supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) entails production stages and management practices for breeding, nursery, and grow-out. This semi-intensive system has proved successful insofar as production of food fish has been undertaken by different categories of entrepreneurs whose technical and financial capabilities vary widely. The practices are flexible and can be adjusted easily to physical conditions of sites and different requirements of farmers.

Extensive and subsistence level fish farms in most countries (e.g. Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago) generally operate at a financial loss. However, because outlays are minimal, farmers continue to operate and produce fish to complement their families' diets and/or incomes.

The dramatic increase in production of tilapia from 2.2 t in 1977 to 2 600 t in 1987 may be attributed to the Government of Jamaica/USAID Inland Fisheries Project. Tilapia farming was successfully introduced although the initial primary objective to promote rural development through small-scale aquaculture was not fully realized. At present, the commercial sector is shaping the evolution of aquaculture. Profitability and rate of return on investment, the national policy of diversification of agriculture, availability of credit, institutional support, coupled with a realistic research, training, and extension programme, are among factors which have contributed to the success.

In general most tilapia farms in Jamaica are similar in design with variations attributed to specific site characteristics. The basic design consists of a set of ponds draining into an open central channel from which the water can be recycled when a new production cycle is initiated. Fry are harvested weekly from breeding ponds and stocked in nursery ponds where they are fed and grown until they reach a size at which they can be visually sorted by sexes. Male monosex culture is practised in grow-out ponds where fish are fed a pelleted commercial feed. Market size fish are harvested by seining the pond during drainage. Yields from production ponds range from 1.5-4.5 t/ha/crop. Production of all-male fingerlings through the use of hormone sex reversal techniques is now widely used in the tilapia farming industry.

Marketing of fish is still very dependent on "higglers", or local middlemen, although an improved organized system of marketing and distribution of tilapia both to rural and urban areas is now underway.

Commercial aquaculture operations in general use more labour, fertilizer, and supplemental feeds than small-scale operations. In many instances production costs tend to be reduced through more intensive use of organic manure and other agro-industrial wastes as sources of fertilizer and feed.

Aquaculture development in Cuba stems from the decision taken by the Government in 1963 following the devastating damage of hurricanes. The Government constructed dams and reservoirs for flood control and irrigation purposes during prolonged droughts. Since the early 1970s some of the newly built reservoirs were stocked with tilapia fingerings (Oreochromis aureus and O. mossambicus) bred in state hatcheries of the Inland Water Restocking Centre. Eventually the 100 000 ha of impounded waters have been stocked on a regular basis by the National Aquaculture Enterprise. Aquaculture systems fall under three categories of extensive, semi-intensive, and intensive farming. The first two refer to culture-based fisheries practised in large dams and medium-sized reservoirs. The extensive system is based entirely on the natural productivity as the sole source of feed for the fish, while in semi-intensive systems water impoundments are fertilized to increase their productivity. Intensive systems are used in ponds not larger than 10 ha, as well as in pens and cages, where artificial supplementary feeds are utilized and stocking densities are much higher.

In the Dominican Republic culture-based fisheries are becoming well established practices in the 15 000 ha of water impoundments which produce some 656 t of tilapia, carp, and black bass (Micropterus salmoides). A well developed practice is the farming of the freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) with a yearly production of 118 t in 118 ha of earthen ponds operated at both commercial and semi-commercial scales. In both cases prawns are produced under intensive conditions, the main difference being the size of the farm and ponds, and the level of vertical integration. Commercial-scale operations generally include a hatchery for the supply of post-larvae (PLs).

In the Greater Antilles marine shrimp farming is evolving rapidly. In Cuba research on the reproduction of two native species (Penaeus schmitti and P. notialis) started in 1970. Toward 1985 a National Plan for the Development of Shrimp Farming was launched by the Fishing Industry Ministry and is under implementation by a public enterprise. Three hatcheries are expected to supply PLs to operate farms with a total area of 1 000 ha located in three provinces of the country. In 1987, 345 t of shrimp were produced, and in 1988 over 500 t.

In the Dominican Republic four shrimp farms have initiated operations and in 1988 produced 240 t of P. monodon, P. vannamei, and P. schmitti.

Foreign investors have conducted feasibility studies for the production of shrimp in various countries of the region (e.g. Antigua, Jamaica, Haiti, the Bahamas, St. Christopher, and the US Virgin Islands) with mixed success.

In the Bahamas a US-based company conducted a pilot project for an intensive shrimp farm using solar salt ponds. Although the company was forced to suspend its operations in 1986 due to financial difficulties, it demonstrated that yields of up to 8 t/ha/y could be realized.

In the Cayman Islands the Government has purchased the former Cayman Turtle Farm and is considering the possibility of transforming it into a model farm for the promotion of shrimp farming in the country.

Extensive marine systems are also practised in the region. These include the cultivation of seaweeds, mangrove oysters, and queen conch.

The seaweed Gracilaria, locally known as "sea moss", is produced in St. Lucia. Research on the culture of sea moss started in 1981. Preliminary studies were aimed at developing a methodology which would use simple technology while not requiring a heavy labour input. The results of tests led to the adoption of the raft system for all aspects of commercial production. The bamboo rafts, usually about 3 × 2 m, hold ten polypropylene lines all seeded with inoculum. These are anchored in place over sites previously selected as suitable for propagation.

The culture of mangrove oyster (Crassostrea rhizophorae), as practised in Jamaica, consists of floating rafts made of bamboo poles and oil drums anchored by nylon ropes to concrete blocks. Spat collectors made of pieces of old car tyres are strung together with monofilament line and hung from bamboo and mangrove racks in the intertidal zone. Once the naturally occurring larvae have settled, the collectors are hung from floating rafts located in sites in sheltered coastal areas appropriate for nursing and feeding.

In Cuba farming facilities for oyster culture consist of stockades of palm posts driven into muddy or sandy bottoms which support wooden transverse beams. Branches of red mangrove, suspended from the beams by tarred ropes or monofilament nylon thread, are used as spat collectors. These collectors, located in estuarine areas, are checked and cleaned periodically until the oysters are harvested 6 months later. Production at present reaches over 1 300 t/y and is partially supported by controlled hatchery-produced spat.

The queen conch (Strombus gigas) is cultured by extensive systems only in Turks and Caicos. It is cultured more intensively in the Bahamas, Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire), the US Virgin Islands, and in Martinique, where hatcheries have been constructed to repopulate over-fished beds. Hatchery reared juveniles are released in either protective cages or enclosures, or directly onto the open sea bottom to replenish depleted natural populations which, in many countries of the region, formerly sustained important subsistence level fisheries.

Several problems still hamper Caribbean aquaculture. These include insufficient biological information on potential candidate species, dependency on wild seed (spat, juveniles, and PLs), lack of economic information, few trained technicians, inadequate marketing channels, low primary productivity in many areas, and pollution and public health considerations.

In the Lesser Antilles in general, due to unfavourable topography, little rainfall, shortage of experienced manpower, lack of freshwater and land suitable for pond construction, a scarcity of local ingredients for fish feeds, freshwater fish culture has not evolved much or contributed to the supply of food for human consumption. Culture practices which make more intensive use of land and water, such as tilapia culture in tanks or polyculture in association with poultry, pig or cattle farming, are proving to be more attractive economically and feasible.

Marine culture appears to be a better option for the development of the sector, particularly in smaller islands. However, vulnerability to hurricanes, low tidal ranges, and low nutrient content of the waters limit to a certain extent the culture systems which can be used. Intensive marine systems in combination with species selection and other economic considerations minimize many of the risks posed by the natural conditions and, at the same time, are compatible with production objectives.

A few countries, such as Martinique, Bahamas, Jamaica, and Cuba, are experimenting with the culture of marine fish in floating cages. Although there are no hatcheries for the production of fingerlings, the grow-out phase in most cases has proved successful both technically and economically. Species produced include the red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), dolphin fish (Coryphaena spp.), and tilapia.

In addition to the practices described for tilapia, and common and Chinese carps, production of freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) has become widespread in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Haiti. Several smaller pilot projects have been conducted in other islands as a means of increasing food production for the supply of local and tourist markets, and in some cases to generate foreign exchange. Production is usually in excavated earthen ponds either alone or in polyculture.

In the French Antilles the continuous cropping and restocking system is widely used, while most other countries prefer batch culture whereby ponds are drained periodically. In both cases, PLs are reared at densities of 10-20 individuals/m2 and are fed supplementary formulated feeds. Reproduction and larval rearing in hatcheries have become widespread practices adapted to local conditions. Hatcheries vary considerably in size and sophistication of technology, from small cottage-industry family operations to large complex commercial units, with water treatment and recirculating systems and capacities of up to one million PLs per month.

Colossoma spp. and armoured catfish (Haplosternum littorale) are two freshwater fish which offer good potential for warmwater pond aquaculture in some of the countries. Both are readily acceptable and in demand in local markets of Cuba, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

2.4 Producers in the region

Producers in the region can be classified into four principal groups: corporate or industrial producers; small-scale private farmers (usually owner-operators of small farms, complementary to other agricultural activities); rural farmers (non-commercial, with family-based land and households with few resources); and artisanal fishermen who benefit from aquaculture through the government-operated culture-based fisheries.

In Jamaica, and other countries, aquaculture has been viewed not only as a means of increasing fishery production to mitigate foreign exchange problems, but also as a means to increase rural employment and income of subsistence and small-scale farmers and fishermen. Several projects (supported for their aim of promoting aquaculture) assumed that the rural farmer would be a producer of food for his own domestic needs, i.e. subsistence. His needs for other goods and services would be met by sale of labour or surplus production. Fish farming thus seemed an attractive alternative to improve the rural standard of living. However, in most countries, rural aquaculture has not become a source of employment and income, or improved nutritional levels. Although most assistance projects (for example, in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Haiti) initially emphasized development of subsistence aquaculture, they have met with limited success. There have been several problems, not only related to the structure of the sector as it develops but also to weaknesses in the institutions designed to serve the sector.

In Jamaica tilapia farming is divided into three sub-sectors, namely industrial or commercial farming, small-scale farming, and rural farming. Small-scale and rural farming are usually characterized by the size of the holding; the former ranges from 0.5-5.0 ha and the latter less than 0.5 ha. Small-scale farmers are the most numerous, representing 70% of the total number of farmers, and their grow-out ponds cover more than 25% of the total surface area in farming. Their production, however, is less than 2.0% of the island's total. Small-scale and rural farming has been affected by the inability of the Inland Fisheries Unit to provide fingerlings at subsidized rates. Many such farmers have remained inactive and others abandoned farming altogether.

Recently, as the industry evolved and adapted to its new situation, some small-scale farmers have been able to obtain fingerlings from private producers. Industrial farmers, on the other hand, had advantages in financial resources for the access and purchase of resources, such as seed and feed, equipment and other inputs, and processing, marketing, and distribution. Farms of more than 5.0 ha make up the commercial sector. In 1987 there were 116 farms covering a total surface of 450 ha. Of these farms 10% were subsistence farmers who owned less than 1% of the pond surface area; 70% were small-scale fish farmers in possession of 25% of the pond surface area; and the remaining 75% of the pond area belonged to 24 commercial farms.

The transfer of aquaculture technology and the establishment of commercial tilapia farming as a viable industry has been successful in Jamaica. One government-owned hatchery and several privately owned hatcheries supply fingerlings to producers, especially rural and small-scale farmers. The larger farmers have become self-sufficient. Aquaculture Jamaica Ltd., Aqualapia Jamaica Ltd., C & T MultiFarms, Sunfish Hatcheries Ltd., and Mitchell Town Fish Farm are some of the larger private companies involved in commercial tilapia production. Prawn farming is diminishing in interest as producers are finding it more profitable to raise tilapia than prawns. Marine aquaculture consists only of a little oyster production (12 t in 1985), but there are plans to develop marine shrimp farming.

In Cuba, in spite of the extensive nature of its predominant production through culture-based fisheries, aquaculture is not an artisanal practice but rather a complex industrial activity carried out by the National Aquaculture Enterprise. The Enterprise, created in 1980, is self-financing. In addition to planning and coordination of sectoral functions at the national level it is responsible for production of freshwater fish through stocking, management, and harvesting some 100 000 ha of hydroelectric dams, irrigation reservoirs, and other man-made impoundments. It is also in charge of operating supporting facilities for the sector, such as hatcheries, experimental research stations, post-harvest handling, and storage. Over 3 000 people work for the Enterprise, including administrators, researchers, extension agents, and fishermen (who may be either mid-level technicians or trained on-the-job). Aquaculture fish workers are reported to have higher incomes than agriculture workers and the overall mean monthly wage is 25% above the national average.

The Ministry of Fisheries has carried out experimental work on P. schmitti, but encountered some problems with growth above 14 g. In 1986 it decided to launch a programme of development of P. vannamei. including the construction of ponds and hatcheries, with the assistance of FAO.

Shrimp farming communities, on the other hand, are relatively marginated and, until now, have not had the same benefits as freshwater counterparts due to their geographical isolation. Shrimp farming is therefore being promoted as a means of producing an export commodity as well as rural coastal development. In addition to constructing shrimp culture facilities, the new Shrimp Farming Administrative Unit is providing these communities with basic public infrastructure, such as roads, communications, health and education centres, and electricity services.

There are reported to be six large companies producing shrimp in Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica, and about 15 small companies operating in the Lesser Antilles. In addition there are more than 750 small-scale owner/operators producing shrimp in small ponds of 0.25-3 ha in size.

Antigua Shrimp Ltd. was created in 1984. Six 2 ha ponds were built and water was supplied from a 10 ha reservoir and a pumping station. The company has sold majority interest to East Caribbean Flour Mills Ltd. of St. Vincent, which has made known its intentions to use the facilities as a research and training station (hatchery) to support a large project in Haiti. The production is 6 t/yr. Attempts were made to start freshwater fish cultivation (T. zilli, T. aurea, Ictalurus punctatus), but they failed due to lack of water. A small production of ornamental fish is also reported, as a sideline business, in 20 small ponds on a 1 ha site. Research on king crab (Mithrax spinosissimus) is conducted by the Smithsonian Institute. Research and pilot-scale production of seaweed (Gracilaria) has been initiated by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.

Bahamas Marine Fish Farms breeds, hatches, grows, and processes the red variety of T. nilotica in heavily stocked tanks using brackish water from wells. Annual production was approximately 36 t in 1986, but was expected to double in 1988. A commercial shrimp culture operation was established on Long Island by Maritek Corporation, but culture activities were dependent on imported larvae. The farm had to suspend operations in 1986 as a result of financial difficulties. A small production of ornamental fish (20 000/y) is also reported. The unit, designed to produce 1.5 million fish per year, with a 300 m2 hatchery, is managed by Aqualite Research Corporation.

A pilot project for tilapia culture in Barbados has been suspended due to water problems. Some small-scale farmers have ponds with local tilapias, but production is consumed by the producers themselves.

In Bermuda an experimental production unit of dolphin fish (Coryphaena hippurus), supplied with imported fry from a Florida hatchery, is reported to be under operation.

The Government of the Cayman Islands has purchased the former Cayman Turtle Farm, which was engaged in turtle culture until 1984. As the USA regulations banned the importation of sea turtle products, the scale of operation was greatly reduced and a large part of the farm is no longer used for turtle culture. It is now proposed to culture marine shrimps in the farm.

A small Macrobrachium pilot project is carried out in Dominica with the participation of European Development Fund (EDF) and the Organization of American States (OAS), in cooperation with Taiwan, Province of China (PC). There are 6 ponds (0.1-0.12 ha), 8 raceways, a small hatchery, and a small laboratory. The first production yielded about 1.2 t/ha/y in 1986, and was sold directly to restaurants.

A second project, with the assistance of USAID, is attempting to produce the Australian freshwater lobster, Cherax tenusimanus. Facilities include six 0.11 ha ponds, and a small laboratory. The first juveniles were imported from Australia in 1986. No data on the present status of this project are available. Tilapia was also being cultivated on a small-scale, but an extension programme launched in 1978 collapsed in 1982 due to lack of funding.

In Dominican Republic three commercial farms produced 240 t of marine shrimp. Production is expected to increase considerably when all the facilities are completed. Isabel Aquacultura SA produced P. monodon under a closed-cycle system whereby broodstock, originally imported from Australia, are reproduced by artificial induction. In addition to the hatchery the company owns a processing plant with a storage capacity of about 50 t. The other producers are growing P. vannamei. supplied by the Cultura Mar Caribe hatchery. Industrias Pesqueras Marien SA has a concession of 1 000 ha of land and intends to begin operations in the near future. There is also a small commercial farm producing eel (Anguilla rostrata), with elvers collected from the wild in northern river estuaries. There are several other aquaculture ventures for the production of king crab (Mithrax spinosissimus) and mangrove oysters (Crassostrea rhizophorae).

In 1987 there were 91 subsistence farmers who produced over 3 t of fish for auto-consumption; 1 314 artisanal fishermen landed about 650 t of fish produced through culture-based fisheries programmes implemented by the Fisheries Resources Department in approximately 10 000 ha of freshwater bodies, and 33 farmers with 84 ha who produced nearly 55 t of prawns supplied by 13 hatcheries located in the central part of the island. No fish are produced by these farmers due to the low price in local markets. At the industrial level there are only three companies that produced 62.5 t of prawns in 1988 in 35 ha, each one with its own hatchery.

There are three experimental projects in Grenada. There is a small pilot project with Macrobrachium at Greenville, with PLs imported from Guadeloupe; an experiment on sea moss (Gracilaria) cultivation with support from the International Centre for Ocean Development of Canada, and a private pilot project on king crab (Mithrax spinosissimus) in Cariacou Island for exports.

Prawn aquaculture in Guadeloupe was initiated in the early 1980s, with Macrobrachium PLs imported from Martinique. In 1987 there were 18 farms with 40 ha of ponds, producing 46 t for the local market. Three hatcheries (of a large cooperative and two small private firms) provide producers with PLs, and the larger one is exporting to Puerto Rico and Grenada. Total production is about 9 million PLs, of which 3.5 millions are exported. Two new projects were to start in 1988, for pilot cultivation of mangrove oysters (Crassostrea rhizophorae) and a shrimp farm, with a second shrimp farm in Marie Galante, which is a dependent island.

Out of 5 200 small subsistence ponds constructed between 1958-77 in Haiti, it appears that only about 500 ponds remain in production in the 1980s. The most recent figures reported by the Service des Pêches et de la Pisciculture indicate 6 t in 1987. A new project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is trying to restore the Damien Governmental Fish Station, and provide farmers with fry and technical assistance. Experimental culture with cages in reservoirs is also reported. The second phase of the project is to construct a large tilapia hatchery to produce fingerlings to support a national freshwater stocking programme and productive culture-based fishery in 26 000 ha of reservoirs available nation-wide.

In Martinique aquaculture development was initiated in 1978 with the introduction of Macrobrachium rosenbergii. In 1981, a commercial cooperative hatchery was built. The hatchery can produce 10-12 million PLs, but local needs are only 7 million/y. Prawn production in 41 ha of ponds was 54 t in 1987, forecast to increase to 65 t in 1988 in 44 ha. The 51 farms are small, with 39 farms less than 1 ha each, 9 farms with 1-3 ha each, and 3 farms only with more than 3 ha. In 1981 a marine project was launched by a private company to produce 300 t of European sea bass per year in rotating floating cages. The products were to be exported to France. Due to financial and disease problems the largest annual production was only 7 t (in 1986), and the project later collapsed with debts estimated to be US$ 1.2 million.

A new pilot and research project began in 1985 for intensive production of red drum (Sciaenops oscellatus). Fingerlings were imported from USA to be future breeders. Sea bass technology for intensive larvae production was adapted to red drum. The first production of commercial size fish in cages was reported to be successful, both technically and economically.

The Leeward Island Shrimp Company is the only enterprise operating in St. Christopher and Nevis. This farm has an average annual production of 6-7 t from 3 ha of ponds. In St. Lucia the only reported production of significance is tilapia, but there are no precise figures. There are only small ponds/reservoirs (less than 0.1 ha) and a small government-owned research station recently upgraded through funds provided by USAID. In marine waters, culture of seaweed (Gracilaria) began in 1981 with assistance from IDRC. In 1987 there were 8 farms and 200 rafts, but no data on production are available. Production is exported to Trinidad and Barbados.

Macrobrachium and tilapia production is active in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but by non-commercial projects which receive assistance from China. Some extension work has been carried out in rural areas, but production is still minimal.

In Trinidad a Government-owned company (Bamboo Grove Fish Farm) operates a freshwater station which supplies fingerlings of T. mossambica and Hoplosternum littorale (cascadura). In 1985 a total of 15 000 fingerlings were distributed to 366 small-scale fish farmers and, although there are no figures on production, the farms are reported to be successful. A government agency, Caroni Ltd., is planning to construct a large farm for production of 300 t of tilapia. Another company, Montero, assisted by Agricultural Concepts, of USA, implemented a 2 ha pilot project for penaeid shrimp culture in 1987. An extension to 20 ha is now planned.

In Turks and Caicos Islands the Caicos Conch Farm is producing juveniles of Strombus gigas (150 000 2-7 mm, and 35 000 10-20 mm conch in 1987) for research, restocking, or culture. Exports have been made to various Caribbean countries. West Indies Mariculture Ltd. is starting operations for culture of king crab (Mithrax spinosissimus).

A small hatchery and grow-out ponds were constructed in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands by Maritek Corporation, but the company encountered serious problems in operating the hatchery, and ceased operations in 1985. During the late 1970s some experimental work was carried out on the use of artificial upwelling for oysters, clams, and scallops.

2.5 Organizations of producers

In Cuba aquaculture production is an integrated operation under the auspices of a state-owned company, the National Aquaculture Enterprise. Its members are fishermen, technicians (aquaculturists), researchers, and administrators who work together and collaborate in strengthening the sector. For the purpose of harvesting the culture-based fisheries, fishermen organize themselves into groups of six, each having at their disposal a small towing vessel with inboard motor, three small craft with outboard motors, and 18 gill nets (120 m long).

In Jamaica tilapia markets have become highly competitive and merchants and higglers tend to abuse the producers. Consequently farmers have formed the Jamaican Fish Farmers' Association. Its steering committee has procured institutional support and other benefits from the Jamaica Agricultural Society, the National Union of Cooperative Societies, and from the Inland Fisheries Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture. Similarly, in the Dominican Republic inland fishermen are grouped in cooperatives and other types of associations which provide them with benefits, particularly protection of the sales value of their products from abuses by intermediary agents or merchants.

Producers of freshwater prawns have formed an Aquaculture Committee within the Agro-industrial Joint Investment Association of the Dominican Republic. This Committee acts as a forum for discussion of technological and economical issues afflicting the industry. In Dominica a cooperative of farmers has been formed to operate prawn ponds under the sponsorship of a multilateral assistance project; and in Haiti producers recently formed the Association of Aquaculturists of Haiti, with 28 members.

In St. Lucia sea moss culturists have formed a cooperative to help organize the industry for local and regional markets, and to standardize and maintain product quality. A "koudmen" system of assistance is already in place, whereby all farmers meet once a month on a farm and work to produce new rafts or assist in other ways required.

2.6 Financial investment by public and private enterprises

Present aquaculture production in the Caribbean is the result of considerable public and private investment in the sector.

Public investment is provided in a number of ways. In particular there are (i) quasi-commercial loan assistance schemes, (ii) grants and subsidies, and (iii) indirect support through administration, extension, research, education, and training. The public sector continues to fund national infrastructure, such as production facilities (hatcheries), experimental fish stations, and research and training centres, all of which lead to increased production for local markets, particularly through subsistence aquaculture and culture-based fisheries.

The private sector generally invests most of its capital in production of cash crops (export products), mainly in marine shrimps and shellfish, but also in tilapia (in Jamaica and the Bahamas) and freshwater prawns (French Antilles and the Dominican Republic).

With the exception of Cuba the bulk of investment in the sector is made by private enterprises. In Dominican Republic, Trinidad, St. Christopher, Antigua, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and US Virgin Islands, much of the investment has been provided by corporations from the USA. In Dominican Republic the largest shrimp farm in the region is financed totally by investors from Taiwan PC. In Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad, and French Antilles investment in small-scale aquaculture enterprises is derived from the agriculture sector, as diversification of farmers' activities.

Antigua Shrimp Ltd., Aqualife Research Corporation (Bahamas), Worldwide Protein (Bahamas) Ltd., Morton Bahamas Ltd., Traverse Group Inc. (Dominica), Isabel Aquacultura SA (Dominican Republic), South Caribbean Group (Dominican Republic), the Leeward Island Shrimp Company (St. Christopher), the West Indies Mariculture Ltd., and France-Aquaculture (French Antilles) are the main foreign-capital enterprises which have invested in the sector in the Caribbean region as described. Financial aid from the French government is also important throughout the French Antilles, with approximately 40% of the total investment. Most of the operators in the Lesser Antilles receive financial assistance from their governments, or have received bilateral, multilateral, and even non-governmental organization (NGO) assistance.

In Jamaica Agro-21 Corporation Ltd., a statutory body jointly funded by the Government of Jamaica and USAID, had as its primary objective the restructuring of the country's agriculture. In its role of catalysing and facilitating private sector investment in aquaculture, it undertook not only the development of infrastructure (irrigation, reservoirs, wells, and distribution networks) but also constructed 125 ha of fish ponds on government lands for lease to potential fish farmers.

The Jamaica Agricultural Development Foundation, a non-profit financial foundation, provides venture capital for commercially viable projects ranging from US$ 9 000-182 000. It also exercises monetary flexibility in various ways as required for high-risk projects, such as acceptance of a wide range of securities as collateral, moratoriums and grace periods on repayments of both interest and capital, and through interest rate policies based on average rates. The Foundation invested in Sunfish Hatcheries for the production of tilapia fingerlings which then played a pivotal role for the sector by providing seedstock for grow-out farms. The farm has 7.5 ha of ponds with the capacity of producing 4-5 million fingerlings annually. It contributed 42% of the US$ 270 000 total investment.

Public investment in aquaculture has also been made by the Government of Jamaica in Aqualapia Jamaica Limited. This is a parastatal enterprise, and at one time the largest producer of tilapia in the country.

Public investment in the aquaculture sector in Cuba during the period 1982-85 amounted to Cu.Ps. 23.8 million for inland culture-based fisheries, and Cu.Ps. 9 million for shrimp culture. Of these, Cu.Ps. 14 million were invested in fish hatcheries and Cu.Ps. 7 million in fish products reception centres for post-harvest handling. In 1986 public investment in aquaculture reached Cu.Ps. 15.3 million which is equivalent to 40% of the total investment for the fisheries sector.

In the Dominican Republic public investment in the aquaculture sector is of the order of US$ 26 000 per annum, while much more substantial investment funds have come from abroad (see 2.8 and 4.8).

The High Impact Agricultural Marketing and Production Program is a unique source of equity capital for private sector firms and organizations. The sponsor, USAID, has made US$ 1 million available in non-traditional export oriented agriculture, agroprocessing, fishing, and other related business and is seeking joint venture investment opportunities in the English-speaking eastern Caribbean.

2.7 Technical assistance projects in the sub-sector

International assistance started to flow into the region more than a decade ago at a time when it was believed that subsistence aquaculture could make a significant contribution to rural development. This assistance was initially provided in terms of research and development of fish culture technologies, which included biological and ecological studies, pond construction, artificial reproduction, seedstock production, feeding and nutrition studies, etc., in addition to training human resources. Most assistance projects were oriented toward the culture of freshwater fishes, then attention was focused on the freshwater prawn and later to marine culture of molluscs. It is only recently that marine shrimp attracted the attention of both international assistance agencies and foreign investors. In brief, foreign assistance has influenced the development of aquaculture within the region in terms of selection of species, training of human resources, and provision of infrastructure and equipment.

In several countries FAO introduced fish farming into the region by promoting stocking of inland bodies of water with tilapia and carps. Fish hatcheries were built at the time.

USAID played an important role in the transfer of aquaculture technology and establishing commercial tilapia farming as a viable industry in Jamaica through implementation of two inland fisheries and fish production projects with a total duration of five years (1979-83). This brought a typical form of integration between adapted aquaculture and local agricultural practices which determined the economy, production methods, social involvement, and consumer preferences; in short, every facet of the present day aquaculture industry of Jamaica. Later, in 1987, FAO provided assistance through its Technical Cooperation Programme to strengthen the Inland Fisheries Unit's training capabilities to fulfil national and regional needs, and to implement a national programme of assistance to fish farmers in the fields of financial planning and farm management.

In 1954 in the Dominican Republic USAID introduced several species, such as channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), black bass (Micropterus salmoides), Leopmis auritus, and Rana catesbiana. Assistance was interrupted until the 1970s when IDRC, USAID, and the Social Service of the Dominican Churches relaunched subsistence and semi-commercial fish farming. The Chinese Technical Agricultural Mission contributed to the promotion of freshwater prawn culture. During the present decade further assistance has been received from the OAS, FAO, USAID, the American Soybean Association, and Taiwan (PC).

Financial assistance for the implementation of some of these projects on the part of the national government was provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). However, the lack of trained personnel impeded the successful completion of the projects and further assistance in terms of manpower training was required.

In Cuba technical assistance has been provided by UNDP/FAO, the Soviet Union, Korea, and China, although in most cases it has been oriented more toward research (see 4.7) than toward direct strengthening of the sector.

Other international agencies have provided technical assistance to countries of the region. UNDP/FAO have implemented a number of projects in nearly all countries, generally oriented toward the development of rural fish farming. Their main achievement was strengthening governments' capabilities to produce seedstock for stocking of ponds, and to conduct extension, training, and research programmes. Specialists and highly qualified experts were recruited as technical advisors to these projects, assisted by Regional Fisheries Officers. Antigua, the Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrrat, and St. Lucia received assistance from UNDP/FAO through ADCP in assessing their respective potentials for aquaculture development.

Multilateral and bilateral technical assistance is currently flowing into the region, but at a reduced pace. USAID supports projects in Dominica in rural fish farming. This country has also received assistance from the EDF for a prawn culture pilot project, and the Traverse Group Inc. with USAID funding has launched a pilot project for cultivation of the Australian freshwater lobster or marron (Cherax tenuimanus).

Bilateral technical assistance is being provided by Taiwan PC for the production of freshwater prawns in Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent.

Grenada has received technical assistance from OAS to carry out a pilot project for the cultivation of prawns. Assistance has also been provided by the International Centre for Ocean Development for the introduction of sea moss cultivation. FAO has recently funded an aquaculture feasibility study which will serve as the basis for the future development of the sector.

The Inland Resource Foundation of St. Thomas, with USAID funding, has undertaken a feasibility study for cultivating brine shrimp (Artemia) in St. Christopher, among other eastern Caribbean countries. The South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium is also providing technical assistance to promote aquaculture development in St. Christopher.

Tilapia farming is being promoted in St. Lucia with technical assistance provided by USAID. This project is complemented by another supported by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to integrate production of pigs with tilapia farming. Prawn farming, in turn, is receiving technical assistance from Taiwan PC. IDRC, in conjunction with the East Caribbean National Areas Management Programme (ECNAMP), has launched a successful pilot project for the cultivation of sea moss by low-income workers or by the unemployed. Training provided for Grenada staff and on-site assistance has been the basis for extending this technology to the rest of the region, with the eventual aim of establishing an industry in the Caribbean.

The Government of Italy, through AQUILA, provides assistance at a regional level. Cuba and the Dominican Republic have benefited from such assistance.

A programming meeting on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries in Aquaculture for Latin America and the Caribbean, sponsored by UNDP in collaboration with Sistema Económico Latino Americano (SELA) and Organizacion Latinoamericana de Desarrollo Pesquero (OLDEPESCA), has recently been held (June 1989). Through this event, 4 priority areas of horizontal cooperation in aquaculture among 19 countries have been established. These are training, technical assistance and exchange of experts, exchange of aquatic organisms, and joint projects. In this meeting 9 training courses, 52 technical assistance activities, 27 agreements on the exchange of species, and 11 joint projects of regional interest, respectively, were negotiated by the authorized representatives of all participating countries. An agreement was reached to request formal financial assistance from bilateral and international donor agencies. In addition to the IDB, institutions and governments of Cameroon, Canada, China, Hungary, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia indicated their interest and willingness to cooperate with the region according to their own capabilities.

Through a contract with UNDP/FAO, France-Aquaculture is providing full technical assistance for construction and initial operational guidance for marine shrimp farming in Cuba. Also FAO, through Technical Cooperation Programmes, has conducted feasibility studies in Grenada and Dominica.

A number of engineering and aquaculture companies from the USA are also providing technical assistance, and some have established offices or subsidiaries in the region; for example, Aquacorp in Puerto Rico, and Aquacultural Concepts in the US Virgin Islands. France-Aquaculture is the only European company which works permanently in the region and supports projects in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Cuba.

2.8 Capital assistance to the sub-sector

The main capital assistance for development of aquaculture in the region is currently associated with activities described in section 2.7. These are predominantly funds from multilateral and bilateral agencies as components of a larger project.

Total financial obligations from USAID to Jamaica for a five-year project were approximately US$ 9 million, 54% of which was contributed by the Government and the remainder financed through loan and grant agreements. A large proportion of this was in the form of capital assistance for the construction of three fish hatcheries and research stations. USAID also financed the construction of an experimental station in Dominica, and hatchery and laboratory facilities for tilapia culture in St. Lucia and in Barbados.

IDRC funded construction of several demonstration farms for the culture of sea moss in St. Lucia, and the International Centre for Ocean Development financed similar facilities in Grenada.

The construction of a shrimp hatchery and farm in Cuba is being funded by UNDP, executed by FAO, and sub-contracted through France-Aquaculture. This project, approximately US$ 1 million, is a component of a comprehensive development project of US$ 10 million.

UNDP is also financing the construction of a tilapia hatchery and the upgrading of other state-owned aquaculture facilities in Haiti.

Development grants of the French Government and the EEC have been provided for the construction of prawn farms (US$ 1.2 million) and hatcheries (US$ 0.5 million) in the French Antilles.

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