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The Government of the Hungarian People's Republic, assisted by the United Nations Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are engaged in a project whose main purpose is to strengthen the research capabilities and facilities at the Fish Culture Research Institute (FCRI), Szarvas, Hungary, and to formulate and implement an integrated research programme in fish culture in ponds, man-made lakes and natural waters of Hungary.

As a part of the project operation, FAO assigned Mr S. Arai as consultant on eel culture from 2 June to 1 August 1980 as a follow-up of an earlier assignment, with the following terms of reference:

  1. to review on-going research work on eel culture;

  2. to assist in developing improved diets using locally available protein ingredients;

  3. to assist in developing efficient production technology for the experimental pond system designed in 1976; and

  4. to assess the feasibility of developing intensive eel culture in Hungary using geothermal energy and warm-water effluents,


Experiments on nursing elvers started in 1975 at the FCRI, but the first year's trial did not succeed. In the summer of 1976, the present consultant assisted the Institute under an earlier consultancy to improve culture methods (Arai, 1977). As a result, FCRI staff succeeded in raising eel in experimental tanks of the wet laboratory using a small-scale water recycling system.

The new large-scale water recycling fish rearing plant of the FCRI was completed late in 1977 and the operation commenced in 1978. The FCRI staff then began experiments to raise elvers intensively and feeding experiments on rearing market-sized eels in tanks using the new water recycling system.

Construction of an experimental eel culture pond system commenced late in 1978, using technical development funds of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. This pond system was designed in 1976 in collaboration with the consultant and the Institute's staff. A part of this experimental pond system was completed in the spring of 1980. In May 1980 an eel culture experiment was initiated using these outdoor ponds.

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