Farmed tilapias being harvested. (Photo: GAFRD, YouTube/AmanyEsmaeil65)
Aquaculture project for fisheries growth begins with Vietnam
Friday, October 29, 2010, 03:50 (GMT + 9)
Africa's top freshwater fish producer and one of Asia's booming mariculture sectors will merge in an effort to launch an aquaculture industry using both river and sea to generate its product. The cooperation agreement was signed between Egypt's General Authority for Fish Resources Development (GAFRD) and Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in May to establish a framework for joint fisheries growth.
Researchers, trainers and quality control technicians in fisheries and aquaculture in both countries are being encouraged to share expertise and exchange visits.
|Tilapia hatchery. (Photo: GAFRD)
General Manager of GAFRD Ahmed Salem said the partnership intends to exploit each country’s comparative advantages pertinent to aquaculture to advance the industry, reports IPS.
"The two countries are an ideal match (for technical transfer) as both share a similar economic and social situation, and both offer solutions that do not rely on high technology," he stated. "Egypt is a leader in freshwater aquaculture, while Vietnam is very developed in mariculture."
Egypt raises four out of every five fish farmed in Africa, with its fish farms generating over 700,000 tonnes of finfish last year, or 65 per cent of Egypt’s total fish production.
GAFRD Chairman Mohamed Fathy Osman said Egypt hopes to gain direction in breeding and processing saltwater marine species.
"Mariculture only contributes about 5 per cent to our total fish production," he explained, "but I think it is the future of aquaculture in Egypt, either through cage culture or offshore fish farming. For certain, we will need foreign expertise in marine breeding and incubation techniques to develop this field."
|Farmed tilapias. (Photo: GAFRD)
With over 20 years of experience in mariculture and more than 40,000 offshore cages, Vietnam’s private operators also use 3,200 km of coastline to raise shrimp, mollusks, cobia and grouper.
Vietnam will offer training courses on open sea and cage breeding of marine finfish and shellfish. Egyptian technicians, in turn, are assisting Vietnam in improving freshwater fish farms’ productivity and quality as it works on growing its tilapia market.
"Egypt is the second largest tilapia producer in the world after China, and has significant experience in hatchery operations, pond farming and raising tilapia," asserted Gamal El-Naggar, a research coordinator for the Malaysia-based WorldFish Center.
Scientists at Egypt's national aquaculture research centre in Abbassa, northeast of Cairo, have developed a new strain of tilapia that can grow 20 per cent faster than usual. Although not yet available to commercial producers, the strain as well as the centre's work in stock selection and nutritional regimes is priceless to small-scale tilapia farmers in developing nations.
"Most of the centre's work is directed at semi-intensive pond systems," said El-Naggar, "[…] because about 80 to 90 per cent of all tilapia production is based on this system."
Vietnam wants Egyptian expertise to aid its move to pond culture as it works to better the quality of its freshwater products. Consumer groups in Egypt and numerous other countries have accused Vietnam of raising its pangasius in the heavily contaminated Mekong River, complicating exports.
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By Natalia Real