The Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem. (Photo: gclme.org/NOAA/FIS)
Mariculture a new interest in the Guinea Current region
Wednesday, March 02, 2011, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
African fish farmers have shown interest in practising mariculture in the Guinea Current Large Marine Ecosystem (GCLME) region. The interests of these farmers from west and central Africa were spurred by presentations made by Yellow Sea expert on mariculture Dr In-Kwon Jang and having learned about cage culture technology used in Ghana’s Volta Dam.
Jang belongs to the Yellow Sea LME (YSLME) project headed by China and South Korea and created to diminish environmental destruction in their waters. The project employs LME’s assessment and management strategy for restoring and sustaining marine resources and coastal habitats.
The purpose of the GCLME-organised meeting on mariculture development was to connect regional fish farmers with those in the Yellow Sea who already possess vast mariculture experience, and allow for the beginning of improved food security in the GCLME region plus an entrepreneurial exchange with fish famers in the Yellow Sea, reports Sierra Express Media.
“The workshop on sustainable mariculture development with environmental management is probably the first of its kind in the GCLME in that this in itself is an achievement,” GCLME Fisheries Expert Dr Mohamed Seisay stated.
At the meeting, it was observed that mariculture methods are problematic in the marine environment, especially regarding the securing of fish cages in high ocean swells and powerful seasonal currents -- potential marine conditions in the region.
|Ghana meeting. (Photo: gclme.org)
Further, the meeting stressed the role of the private sector insofar as investment in the growth of sustainable fish markets selling mariculture products; for national institutions to create an aquaculture policy and legal framework for the activities; the need for training of fish farmers in the Guinea Current region; and the need for efforts to ensure the sustainability of commercial aquaculture farms.
Other recommended measures are research into producing fish feed, running a study on the viability of regional mariculture and identifying the potential and return on investments.
Mariculture is considered a way to protect fisheries, which are becoming depleted even though they provide protein for the GCLME region’s 300 million inhabitants. Moreover, mariculture operations offer a livelihood to fishers who might lose their jobs when restricted fishing loads are implemented in the region’s near-shore areas.
To encourage mariculture growth in the Guinea Current, an interim network of Guinea Current fish farmers was established with Nigerian catfish farmer from Samaritan Fish farms David Ogwu as provisional president. The network will connect marine fish farmers from Guinea-Bissau to Angola and give them technical support through a partnership with the Yellow Sea Large Marine Ecosystem in the Far East.
By Natalia Real