Aquaculture in Mozambique is a relatively new activity. The culture of freshwater species such as tilapia has existed for many decades (since the 1950s), whereas the cultivation of marine species has emerged over the last five years. The aquaculture industry in 2003 consisted of commercial farms producing marine shrimp (Penaeus spp.) and seaweed (Kappaphycus spp.), and artisanal farms producing tilapia (Tilapia spp.). In 2003 aquaculture production was approximately 855 tonnes/year, but the outlook is a production of 5 000 tonnes by 2006 (Ministério das Pescas, 2003). 2003 data on capture fisheries reported a production of 89 111 tonnes of crustaceans, finfish and molluscs (INE, 2003).
Aquaculture practices range from extensive farming (tilapia and seaweeds) with few inputs and modest output, to semi-intensive farming (shrimp) with high inputs and high output.
The development of aquaculture in Mozambique plays an important role in the socio-economic development of the country: providing cheap protein, improving the population's diet, creating jobs, generating income and promoting regional development.The potential for aquaculture development in Mozambique is enormous. There is a favourable environment for investment, climatic conditions are favourable (tropical and sub-tropical climate), it is unpolluted, population pressure is low, and there are extensive resources with a potential of 33 000 ha of land suitable for coastal aquaculture and the existence of wild native species which can potentially be farmed such as giant tiger prawn Penaeus monodon , Indian white prawn Penaeus indicus , kuruma prawn Penaeus japonicus , speckled shrimp Metapenaeus monoceros , giant river prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii and tilapia Tilapia spp.
The culture of freshwater species such as tilapia has existed for many decades (since the 1950s) with the construction of a large number of small dams. However, the cultivation of marine species has only emerged over the last five years. At beginning of the 1960s the government built hatcheries and demonstration farms in Umbeluzi (0.5 ha), Sussundenga (2 ha) and Chowke (1.6 ha). In 1978-1979, the government expressed renewed interest in freshwater fish farming, particularly as a means of supplying fish to the rural population which was deficient in animal protein and beyond the reach of existing marine and freshwater fish distribution networks. Under the authority of the State Secretary for Fisheries, two experimental fish farms were renovated at Umbeluzi (Maputo province) and Sussundenga/Chizizira (Manica province), and development research was re-commenced. In October 1984 freshwater fish farming was transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture.
In the 1990s an Aquaculture Programme for Local Communities (ALCOM), funded by SIDA and executed by FAO, assisted Mozambique in developing freshwater fish farming and extension methods. Approximately 230 fish ponds were reported during this period.
The cultivation of marine species has only emerged over the last five years. Coastal aquaculture began in the 1970s with a research programme into farming the South American rock mussel Perna perna .
Early work on prawn culture and development began in the mid 1980s with site surveying, promotion of overseas investment and the execution of a UNDP funded pilot project near Maputo City. However, project implementation faced several constraints and in the early 1990s the farm was privatized. It is currently a farming hatchery rearing Penaeus indicus. Yields of 2.5 tonnes/ha/year have been achieved. In 2002 the production of marine shrimp was 600 tonnes at a value of US$ 3 000 000. In 2003 it was 332 tonnes at a value of US$ 1 657 920 with only one farm operating. Seaweed production in 2002 was 157 tonnes at an estimated value of US$ 31 000 and in 2003 523 tonnes estimated at US$ 105 000.
Direct employment in the fisheries and aquaculture sector is estimated to be 95 000 (Ministry of Fisheries, 2004; Omar, 2005), of whom 90 percent are in the artisanal sector. It is estimated that about 1 000 people are employed on the commercial farms on a full-time basis. Around 5 500 people are involved in subsistence aquaculture as a part-time activity, of whom 3 500 are in tilapia extensive farming and 2 000 in seaweed farming. Other activities include agriculture, including cash crops and livestock. The vast majority, over 90 percent, are illiterate or have a primary education, whilst a small number, mainly those in administrative areas, have a secondary education. The commercial farms employ overseas workers in technical and managerial positions. In seaweed farming 80 percent of the producers are women, whilst on the commercial farms women make up 30 percent of the workers (Aquaculture Department, 2004) employed in processing.
It is estimated that there are over 3 500 freshwater fish ponds (200-400 m2 in area, 105 ha) in Manica, Niassa, Tete, Sofala and Zambézia.
There are currently three commercial shrimp aquaculture enterprises operating in Beira, Sofala Province (Sol & Mar with 500 ha), Quelimane, Zambézia province (Aquapesca with 1 000 ha) and Pemba, in Cabo Delgado province (Indian Ocean Aquaculture with 980 ha). All use a semi-intensive farming system in earthen ponds (size range from 5-10 ha) and import feed from the region (South Africa and Seychelles) or from Asia. Current production is at 4.8 tonnes/ha/year. Water quality is permanently monitored and investment is high. The species produced are Penaeus monodon the giant tiger prawn and Penaeus indicus the Indian white prawn.
Seaweed (Eucheuma spinosum and Kappaphycus alvarezii ) is farmed in Cabo Delgado (from Pemba to Macomia, including some islands in the Quirimba archipelago) and in Nampula (between Angoche and Nacala) provinces.
The cultured species in Mozambique include fish, crustaceans and aquatic macro algae. The species most cultivated are the native marine prawn species: giant tiger prawn (Peneaus monodon ), Indian white prawn (Peneaus indicus ) and the native freshwater fish Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus ).
In early 1990s, the ALCOM programme introduced from Zimbabwe the common carp (Cyprinus carpio ), the silver carp (Hypophthalmichtys molitrix ), and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus ). Nowadays, however, subsistence farmers culture hybrids of Oreochromis mossambicus and Oreochromis niloticus , likely to be inbred strains that lead to slow growth and low production.
In the late 1990s, the seaweed species Kappaphycus alvarezii (=Eucheuma cottonii ) and Eucheuma denticulatum (=E. spinosum ) were introduced from Zanzibar (Tanzania).
Capture fisheries in Mozambique is an important sector and contributes significantly to the diet of the population. Artisanal production in 2003 was estimated by the Ministry of Fisheries of Mozambique to be about 67 074 tonnes. In 2003 registered total catches (from industrial and semi-industrial fishing boats) were reported to be 22 037 tonnes and accounted for 10 percent of the country's total exports. In 2003 the annual value of exported fish products was US$ 79.7 million (DNEP, 2004).
In 2002 production from aquaculture (marine shrimp and seaweed) was 757 tonnes at a value of US$ 3 031 000. In 2003 it was 855 tonnes and worth US$ 1 668 300 (DNEP, 2004).
The graph below shows total aquaculture production in Mozambique according to FAO statistics:
Fish marketing and distribution are carried out by the private sector (formally and informally). A wide range of marine fish products is available and marketed. Marine aquaculture production has served external market demands, while freshwater production is for household consumption. The domestic market for marine products is small and consumption of such products is mainly confined to marine areas. Fish consumption in the country is estimated at 7-10 kg/year. However, there are consumption imbalances between coastal and inland areas. High-value species such as prawns Penaeus monodon and Penaeus indicus are exported. Europe and the USA are the primary export destinations for aquaculture exports. Small volumes are also marketed in South Africa and Asian countries. The production of cultured tilapia from cages is all marketed locally. The Fish Inspection Department in the Ministry of Fisheries is the competent authority for inspection, testing and certification of both capture and aquaculture products.
In 2003 the fisheries sector constituted about 4 percent of GDP and 28 percent of foreign exchange earnings. Exports of aquatic products (shrimp, fish, molluscs, seaweed, etc) amounted to some US$ 73 million in 2003. It is estimated that the population derives 50 percent of its animal protein intake directly from fish and fisheries products. The sector provides direct employment for over 95 000 people. Over three to four times this number is employed in the support services. Annual production of fish and fisheries products including aquaculture is estimated at 100 000 tonnes.
Rural aquaculture programmes contribute significantly to food security and to improving living standards and conditions. They have an enormous positive social impact in rural communities. It is reported that about 3 000 families are involved in subsistence fish farming and 2 000 in seaweed farming. Although there are no records on the profitability of fish farming, local seaweed farmers are reported to earn an average of US$ 60 per month. Shrimp farming provides employment for 1 492 people in Mozambique (Aquaculture Department, 2004).
The Ministry of Fisheries has overall responsibility for the management and administration of aquaculture in Mozambique. Two government bodies deal directly with aquaculture: the Aquaculture Department in the Ministry of Fisheries and the Aquaculture Division at the Fisheries Research Institute (IIP). Fish Inspection Department under the Ministry of Fisheries is responsible for the control of quality standards of all aquaculture products.
Despite the creation of a separate Ministry of Fisheries, subsistence small-scale freshwater fish farming is under the promotion and assistance of the provincial agriculture departments.
NGOs play a vital role in community mobilization, empowerment and implementation of projects. In Mozambique, a number of NGOs is involved in agriculture extension (including fish farming), group formation and credit provision to small-scale rural farmers.
The Association of Shrimp Producers of Mozambique is currently waiting for formal registration. It will be made up of the three established businesses Aquapesca, Indian Ocean and Sol e Mar. Membership will be limited to companies licensed by authorities as industrial producers. With respect to marketing, the Association will direct its efforts to ensuring that Mozambique shrimp maintains its reputation for high quality. This will involve implementing self-regulating codes of conduct for responsible aquaculture, and creating for its members a label guaranteeing quality to the buyers. The government supports producers in achieving their market objectives by ensuring strict regulations which govern the handling and processing of products from both capture fisheries and aquaculture.
The Fisheries Law (Law 3/90 of 26 September 1990) and subsequent regulations form the legal basis for the fisheries sector. The Fisheries Law defines the role and responsibility of the fisheries administration and the principles which guide the fishing activities. The maritime regulation (Decree 43/2003 of December 10th ) deals with fisheries administration and management (licensing procedures, fishing regimes and gears, quality control, management measures etc). There is a general aquaculture regulation that defines all rights and obligations of all stakeholders in Mozambique (Decree 35/2001 of 13 of November). The legislation defines specific norms and requirements for aquaculture farms and establishes procedures for licensing and parameters for each farming system.
Through the Fish Inspection Department and the Aquaculture Department the Ministry of Fisheries is responsible for controlling the use of chemicals in aquaculture. For that purpose a National Plan for the control of residues of veterinary drugs, heavy metals, pesticides and other environmental contaminants is drawn up and implemented every year. The Fish Inspection Department is the competent authority for the control of quality standards of all fish and fisheries products including aquaculture products. Given that aquaculture development has expanded and products have become more diverse, specific standards have to be legislated on by the Ministry of Fisheries.
There is no regulation governing quarantine of imported fish or aquatic species. There is no specific regulation on the control of disease in aquaculture.
There are legal requirements for environment impact assessment for aquaculture farms larger than 5 ha and with an annual output above 100 tonnes. An Environmental Law was approved in October 1997. There is a new regulation for the control of effluent discharged by factories, industrial plants and other development activities.
The Land Law was approved in July 1997 (N° 19/1997). It follows the Constitution and is similar to previous legislation (1979 Land Law) whereby all land is still owned by the state. No private land rights exist.
Research priorities in the fisheries sector, including aquaculture, are set by the Ministry of Fisheries.
The main public body for the promotion and support of activities in science and technology in Mozambique is the Ministry for Science and Technology. In the fisheries sector there are two bodies responsible for scientific research and development: the Fisheries Research Institute (IIP) and the Institute for the Development of Small Scale Fisheries (IDPPE). The IIP operates as a traditional fisheries research institute with focus on biological aspects of management. It performs very well within this paradigm and with the limited resources available. Both the IIP and the IDPPE are involved in applied research and extension/experimental fishing activities. Under the umbrella of the Ministry of Fisheries, there is a Fisheries School which provides vocational training for fishermen and fishing vessel machinists.
There are currently no facilities for aquaculture research in the country. Research is limited to resource surveys and environmental studies with the support of outside laboratories.
There are no institutions teaching aquaculture subjects in Mozambique.
Aquaculture in Mozambique represents an additional source of animal protein, contributing to food security, stimulating regional development, generating foreign income, creating new jobs and reducing pressure on wild stocks, particularly the shrimp stocks. Shrimp aquaculture currently represents a little more than 2.5 percent of the country's total shrimp production. There is potential for further aquaculture development in Mozambique. The country is well positioned for shrimp farming and shrimp exports command a high price in Europe. Studies have shown there are 33 000 ha available for the short and medium term development of coastal aquaculture, free from conflicting uses and protected resources. The establishment of shrimp and fish farms is one of the Government's major plans. The country is bestowed with a large number of lakes such as Niassa (Lake Malawi), Chiuta, Chilwa, Amaramba and dams such as Cahora Bassa, Chicamba Real, Massingir, Corumana and Pequenos Libombos. These aquatic resources could be potential sites for cage culture and pen culture by small and medium enterprises.
With regards to land use, tourism and other activities, there is little competition in the areas suitable for aquaculture development.
The Mozambican Government is now in the process of formulating policy for the development of aquaculture and this is an important tool for guiding the development of this sub-sector. A number of issues are being addressed such as more efficient resource utilization (improved water management, better feeding practices, improved health management, increased integration with agriculture), maximization of positive environmental practices and biodiversity conservation.
The situation on the world market is not encouraging for potential warm water shrimp producers. Supply continues to outstrip demand, pushing prices down. Markets are dominated by large producers with advantages in the form of economies of scale. This, together with worldwide environmental concerns, leads to less intensive shrimp production in Mozambique. Shrimp producers in Mozambique are committed to supplying high quality products in order to reach niche markets. So the level of intensification and environmental impacts are issues that are addressed daily.
The Government is promoting bivalve and seaweed culture These are activities that can provide a positive impact on the environment by removing pollution from the local water systems.
FAO . 2005 . Aquaculture production, 2004. Year book of Fishery Statistics - Vol.96/2. Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
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