1. Characteristics, structure and resources of the sector
    1. Summary
    2. History and general overview
    3. Human resources
    4. Farming systems distribution and characteristics
    5. Cultured species
    6. Practices/systems of culture
  2. Sector performance
    1. Production
    2. Market and trade
    3. Contribution to the economy
  3. Promotion and management of the sector
    1. The institutional framework
    2. The governing regulations
    3. Applied research, education and training
  1. Trends, issues and development
    1. References
      1. Bibliography
      2. Related links
    Characteristics, structure and resources of the sector
    Aquaculture occupies an important place in Madagascar. It is considered to be one of the key sectors for the country because of the contribution it makes to foreign exchange revenues thanks to exports of farmed shrimps/prawns and seaweed and the part played by improving the incomes of smallholder fish farmers, the contribution to making fish available on local markets and the employment generated. Aquaculture is practised in freshwater, brackish water, and marine water:
    • Freshwater aquaculture is mainly practised in ponds and irrigated paddy fields. After the gradual establishment of private smallholder fingerlings producers in the rural environment, the present priority is to foster market-oriented commercial aquaculture based on developing new technologies and the breeding of new species.
    • In brackish and marine water, shrimp culture has taken off remarkably over the past 10 years and this should continue in the medium term. Marine fish culture has now begun. Other types of aquaculture, such as sea cucumber and spirulina rearing, are currently being developed.
    History and general overview
    Historically speaking, freshwater aquaculture has developed over the past fifty years in four clearly distinct phases:
    • the colonial phase, dominated by successive introductions of new species.
    • The phase in which appropriate solutions were being sought for the rapid economic development of the country through “imposed and specific constraints” by issuing land clearance or logging permits for the construction of aquaculture ponds.
    • The phase of major aquaculture projects during the past three decades; the gradual withdrawal of government from production activities (mainly of fingerlings) and the management of State-owned aquaculture stations (management agreements between the administration concerned and the fish farmers' associations); and the gradual settlement of smallholder fingerling producers in the rural environment.
    • The phase of market-oriented commercial aquaculture promotion, based on the development of new technologies and the breeding of new species.
    But it has only been over the past ten years or so that coastal shrimp farming has undergone rapid development. Marine algae culture is only practised by one company in conjunction with the small farmers in the north eastern part of the island. Spirulina and sea cucumber farming is still in the start-up phase.
    While inland aquaculture is local market-oriented, marine aquaculture is designed for the export market as a means of earning foreign exchange.
    Human resources
    In 2003, inland aquaculture was practised by 21 000 rice-fish culture farmers, 45 000 fish farmers and 219 fingerling producers. Cage culture was practised by 42 associations, providing direct employment for 110 people, while four tilapia hatcheries employed 45 people.

    For marine aquaculture, the six shrimp breeding companies created 4 325 full-time jobs, 4 267 of which were for local people and 58 for expatriates (Anon. 2005b). These 4 325 full-time jobs were distributed as follows: 90 mariners, 1 072 in the processing plant, 400 in administration, 267 in hatcheries, 2 114 in farms, and 382 in other areas. This kind of shrimp farming also created 30 000 indirect jobs. Seaweed culture was being practised by 126 farmers.

    Aquaculture also employs 50 researchers and 40 administrative staff.
    Farming systems distribution and characteristics
    In 2003, inland aquaculture was practised on 15 km2 of the irrigated paddy fields and 4 km2 of ponds with efficient water management (Anon, 2005a), accounting for only a very small part of the potential (1 600 km2 of water bodies and 340 km2 of paddy fields, according to Kiener, 1963, and 20 km2 of areas with efficient water management according to Anon, 2005a).
    It is estimated that, at the present time, a total area of 11 938 ha could be developed to produce 54 416 tonnes of shrimps. Only 41.7 per cent of this potential, namely, 4 982 ha, is currently being exploited (Anon, 2001).
    Cultured species
    The main freshwater species being farmed is the common carp (Cyprinus carpio), which was introduced in 1959. Goldfish (Carassius auratus) introduced in 1861 is also bred, but on a much smaller scale. Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) introduced in 1956 is becoming increasingly more common in ponds and in cages. Marine aquaculture is based mainly on the giant tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon), which is fished locally. Introduced in 1998, tropical marine seaweed (Eucheuma striatum) Zanzibar strain, is currently being farmed in the coastal zones.
    Practices/systems of culture
    Three types of aquaculture are practised:
    • Freshwater aquaculture in paddy fields, ponds and cages, in that order. In the paddy fields, the extensive farming of common carp is predominant, whereas in ponds the tendency is towards semi-intensive farming (common carp, goldfish or tilapia). Monosex male tilapia breeding is practised in floating cages. Trials are being conducted with the improved extensive farming of local species of Macrobrachium in the coastal zones of the Marovoay region, in paddy fields and in ponds.
    • Marine aquaculture is dominated by giant tiger prawn farming behind the mangrove areas on the north-west coast which were previously identified by the Madagascar Shrimp Aquaculture Development Master Plan (Schéma d'aménagement pour l'aquaculture de crevettes à Madagascar - SAACM). These are comprehensive production systems composed of breeding ponds, a hatchery, a processing and packaging factory and storage facilities, as well as facilities for the company staff. All the aquaculture feed is imported, even though trials have been conducted using local feed, but these have not been conclusive.
    • Seaweed farming is practised in the northeastern region of the island in conjunction with the IBIS Madagascar company, in a coastal zone, generally by women and children.
    Sector performance
    Even though national aquaculture statistics are always difficult to acquire, particularly with regard to inland aquaculture, production may be estimated as follows:
    PRODUCTION 2003 2004 -
    Quantity (tonnes) Value ('000 US$) Quantity (tonnes) Value ('000 US$) -
    Shrimps/prawns 6 021 59 000 7 007 62 000 (projection) -
    Seaweed 141* 100 160 N.A. -
    Pond fish 900 1 500 1 000 1 600 -
    Rice-fish culture 1 500 2 500 1 550 2 600 -
    Sources: Anon, 2004b and 2005a ; * Value 2001 ; N.A.: not available

    There has been a sharp increase in marine aquaculture production.

    The graph below shows total aquaculture production in Madagascar according to FAO statistics:

    Market and trade
    Only the production surpluses of (rice-fish) aquaculture, which is generally practised in the rural world, are sold on the local market, in the form of live or very fresh fish.

    Most of the fish reared in cages is sold at Antananarivo, mainly in supermarkets and to restaurants.

    Most of the marine aquaculture production is exported, particularly shrimps and dried seaweed. For this purpose, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries issues licences to the authorised companies, through the veterinary service. This licence may be withdrawn or suspended for non-compliance with health and hygiene rules and standards.

    These products are mainly exported to Europe. Most of the shrimps and prawns (70 percent are exported (whole, headed and peeled) to Europe (France, Spain and Italy). Small quantities are exported to the United States, and 30 percent to Japan. Each company has its own distribution network in Europe, serving large and medium-sized supermarkets where the product is labelled “Madagascar farmed shrimps” without mentioning the name of the company producing them.
    Contribution to the economy
    In 2004, freshwater aquaculture produced around 2 550 tonnes of fish, equivalent to about 2.8  percent of national consumption for a total value of 4.2 million US dollars. That same year, some 7 million farmed shrimps and prawns were exported for a value estimated at 62 million US dollars.

    In 2003, freshwater aquaculture created 4 325 full-time jobs (4 267 local and 58 expatriates) and 30 000 part-time jobs.

    It contributed 0.52 per cent to GDP in 2001 and 0.69 percent in 2002. Its contribution to national income was 0.24 percent in 2001 and 0.59 percent in 2002.
    Promotion and management of the sector
    The institutional framework
    Aquaculture management and development is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MAEP) through all the Fisheries and Fish Resources Directorate (DPRH).

    Its main responsibilities in the fisheries/aquaculture sector are:
    • Administration and coordination.
    • Promotion, development and sustainable management.
    • Drawing up development strategies and policies.
    DPRH is headquartered at Antananarivo with the following structure:
    • One technical Directorate - the Fisheries and Fish Resources Directorate.
    • Two technical services: the Fisheries Promotion Service (for marine and inland fisheries) and the Aquaculture Promotion Service (for inland and marine aquaculture).
    • It is represented by the Regional or Interregional Fisheries and Fish Resources Services in the regional-level de-centralised Services.
    The governing regulations
    Several legal instruments and regulations have been drawn up for aquaculture management, especially marine aquaculture, in the form of acts of parliament, ordinances and decrees.

    The following table gives a list of the texts currently in force.
    Aquaculture Name Reference Subject-matter Institution involved1
    Marine Regulation of fisheries and aquaculture Ordinance 93.022 of 04/05/93 Overall aquaculture management framework MAEP
    Development of responsible shrimp/prawn aquaculture Act Act 2001.020 of 12/12/01 Disease prevention, environmental protection, procedures for establishing an aquaculture farm (issue of establishment licence) MAEP
    Investment and environmental accountability Decree Decree No. 2004-167 of 03/02/04 amending certain provisions of Decree No. 99.954 Procedures for the insurance of environmental farming licence MAEP, MINENEF, ONE, MINTOUR and other institutions with responsibility for the site
    Inland Establishment of farms for the production and sale of alevins and fish Order 5321-2002/MAEL/SEPRH of 17/10/02 Procedures for the issuance of authorisation to establish a fish farm. Fisheries Directorate and its decentralised Services
    Institution of the technical committee to promote mono-sex male tilapia Interdepartmental Order No. 22914/2004 of 29/11/04 Procedures governing the use of hormones for sex inversion DPRH, FOFIFA, MINSAN, DSAPS, ENVIRONNMENT, ARDA, APAM, MPE
    On the environmental impact of investments Decree No. 2004-167 of 03/02/04 amending certain provisions of Decree No. 99.954 Environmental impact analysis of investments MINENVEF, DPRH, ONE and other institutions, as relevant.
    1 see the list of acronyms in the annex

    Aquaculture regulations have not yet been developed as much as Fisheries regulations. Many are still waiting to be drafted. Provisions governing environmental protection have been adopted by decree. No fish farm may begin operations without an environmental and/or establishment permit, delivered after an environmental impact study has been performed under a Project Environmental Management Plan.
    Applied research, education and training
    The following three institutions have been identified for conducting aquaculture research, two of which are nationwide:
    Institution Aquaculture research subject
    FOFIFA (inland aquaculture) Improving the common carp strains. Optimising technical procedures for producing mono-sex male tilapias.
    CDCC (inland and marine aquaculture) Designing post-larval shrimp and prawn production techniques and artisanal fattening techniques. Designing post-larval Macrobrachium spp production techniques. Designing techniques for the mass production of tilapia alevins in hatcheries. Design of composite shrimp/prawn feed using local ingredients.
    IHSM Designing the sea cucumber reproduction and fattening techniques. Designing spirulina production techniques.

    These are all applied research activities relating directly to aquaculture. At the present time, it is the training establishments (particularly the state-owned institutions) which lay down the research themes jointly with the private sector. On the basis of agreements concluded between them, research is subsequently conducted by in-house trainees who use their work for their final dissertations. Every aquaculture company may also conduct their own research, whose results remain more or less confidential.

    Several governmental and private institutions provide aquaculture training. In these establishments the courses are essentially general and theoretical. They are followed by practical in-house training in aquaculture companies depending upon the subject of the final dissertation.

    These aquaculture training institutions are:
    Type of institution Establishment Qualification
    Governmental Etablissement des sciences agronomiques d'Antananarivo Agricultural engineer
    Institut halieutique et des sciences marines de Tuléar Senior fisheries technician. Master of Aquaculture
    Ecole d'application des sciences agricoles, Mahajanga Senior fisheries technician
    Unité de formation professionalisante de Mahajanga Bachelor of Aquaculture
    Private Ecole supérieure de Vakinankaratra Agricultural engineer
    Ecole d'application de Bevalala Senior agricultural technician
    Eli GREEN University Senior agricultural technician
    Trends, issues and development
    The last decade has seen the rapid development of industrial prawn farming. During this period, production has risen from 406 tonnes (in 1994) to 7 007 tonnes (in 2003). Within three years, industrial prawn production is expected to overtake industrial prawn fisheries production and dominate the exports of these products. This type of aquaculture has also a noteworthy legal framework and monitoring system. Measures have been adopted to oblige the operators to carry out an environmental impact study and to draft and publish a development plan. A code of conduct and an Act on the responsible and sustainable development of the industry have also been implemented.

    The country possesses good development potential for inland aquaculture, particularly fish farming. The soundness of privatising fingerling production and the commitment of these small fish farmers to aquaculture extension work has been demonstrated. Nevertheless, despite the increasing quantities of fingerlings produced, aquaculture production is not rising. The older development strategy which only focused on attaining food self-sufficiency, without making it possible to generate marketable surpluses, is now being challenged. A new inland aquaculture development policy has been put in place to encourage market-oriented commercial aquaculture. Encouragement is being given to putting in place professional agriculturalists and, for example, the establishment of four tilapia hatcheries in the Analamanga region, two of which will be to produce mono-sex male tilapia fingerlings. Household-type fish farming is slowly giving way to commercial farming.

    Moreover, there is still considerable potential for raising shrimps and prawns and inland aquaculture:
    • For shrimp/prawn culture, only 4 928 ha (41.7 percent) of a total available area of 11 938 ha is being used. But the area under water and under production is barely 2 164 ha.
    • For aquaculture in cages: only 6 km2 (0.37 percent) is currently being used out of a total available area of 1 600 km2.
    For rice-fish culture, large areas of irrigated paddy fields can still be used for the simultaneous, or alternate, production of fish.
    FAO. 2005. Aquaculture production, 2004. Year book of Fishery Statistics - Vol.96/2. Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
    Anonyme. 2001. Etude du schéma d'aménagement de l'aquaculture de crevettes de mer à Madagascar. Antananarivo, MPRH/DA/UE/Consortium OSIPD/FTM/PHD .
    Anonyme. 2004a. Pêche et aquaculture à Madagascar: Plan Directeur 2004-2007, MAEP/FAO, Antananarivo.
    Anonyme. 2004b. Etude de compétitivité de l'aquaculture de crevettes de Madagascar. Observatoire économique de la filière crevettière à Madagascar. Rapport final. 139 pp.
    Anonyme. 2005a. Rapport d'activité annuel 2003 et 2004. Antananarivo, Direction de la pêche et des ressources halieutiques .
    Anonyme. 2005b. Document de synthèse des données économiques de la filière crevettière. Observatoire Economique de la filière crevettière à Madagascar.
    Anonyme. 2005c. Rapport de synthèse des travaux du projet FAO-TCP/MAG/2901 «Formulation d'une stratégie pour la valorisation des acquis du sous secteur de l'aquaculture» (draft).
    Kiener, A. 1963. Poisson, pêche et pisciculture à Madagascar. Nogent sur Marne, France, Centre technique forestier tropical, 160 pages.
    Rabelahatra, A. 1988. Etudes nationales pour le développement de l'aquaculture en Afrique, 22. Madagascar. FAO Circ.pêches, (770.22): 82p.
    Annexe - Liste des acronymes malgaches
    APAM: Association Professionnelle des Aquaculteurs de Madagascar
    CDCC: Centre pour le Développement de la Culture des Crevettes
    DPRH: Direction de la Pêche et des Ressources Halieutiques
    DGDR: Direction Régionale du Développement des Régions
    DSAPS: Direction de la Santé Animale et Phytosanitaire
    FOFIFA: Foibe Fikaroana ho an'ny Fambolena
    GAPCM: Groupement des Aquaculteurs et Pêcheurs de Crevettes de Madagascar
    IHSM: Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marine
    MAEP: Ministère de l'Agriculture, de l'Elevage et de la Pêche
    MEFB: Ministère de l'Economie, des Finances et du Budget
    MINENVEF: Ministère de l'Environnement et des Eaux et Forets
    MINSAN: Ministère de la Santé
    MINTOUR: Ministère du Tourisme
    MPE: Maison du Petit Elevage
    ONE: Office National de l'Environnement
    PFOI: Pêche et Froid de l'Océan Indien
    SAACM: Schéma d'Aménagement pour l'Aquaculture de Crevettes de Madagascar
    SRPRH: Service Régional de la Pêche et des Ressources Halieutiques
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