The office of the Regional Director, West Africa Region of The World Aquaculture Society African Chapter held an online webinar on zoom on Friday 28th of August, 2020. The programme started at 2pm and ended 5pm(GMT+1)*

The theme of the programme is “AFRICAN AQUACULTURE: YOUTH DYNAMISM, AQUACULTURE NOW AND THE FUTURE”. The speakers:  Aadel Saied from Egypt, Nourhan Abass from Egypt, Zaharah F. Conteh from Sierra Leone, Benjamin Bockarie from Sierra Leone, Temitope Saheed Odetola from Nigeria and Abdullah Idi Garba Nigeria. The moderator for the programme is Deaconess Foluke Areola Ffs. The programme was powered by Aller Aqua Nigeria and Okele Agro Farm Nig Ltd.

The first speaker Nourhan Abass from Egypt talked about production systems: Extensive system, Intensive system and Semi intensive system. The intensive system is practiced in few African countries: Egypt, Nigeria, Malawi Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Zambia. The common specie in Egypt for intensive system is Tilapia fish, both farm  and commercial feeds are used.  A 300-500g/fish is obtained in 5 to 7 months. Also, she explained integrated fish culture with agriculture and with breeding of animals. She made mention of Tilapia culture with poultry, Tilapia with wheat and Tilapia culture with rice. Furthermore, she went on to highlight aquaculture systems for the future: intensive system close system, in pond race way, aquaponics,  recircularory aquaculture systems (RAS), sandponic, bioflocs and aquamimcry. Targeted aquaculture fish species for the future in Egypt are: shrimp, red tilapia, pangasius, mussels/clams. In addition, she identified aquaculture problems are: poor quality and expensive inputs (feeds and seeds), poor quality of feeds, poor education, research and development program, inadequate infrastructure, disease outbreak, with poor control and prevention. The way forward was also hilighted by her, they are: extension should be improved, with involvement of all stakeholders, aquatic animal health strategies and plan should be a priority, implementation of aquaculture education, training and development should be essential, financial instruments to support the aquaculture industry and appropriate aqua feed policy, regulatory frame work and standards needs to be developed, improvement of infrastructure, and regulations and legislation should be put in place to ensure safe fish produce, fish products, biosecurity,  traceability and quality.

The second speaker was Aadel Saied from Egypt, a staff of Ghalion aquaculture in Nile Delta, Egypt.  He is known to manage the hatcheries,  fisheries and ponds. He has a master in Aquatic animal disease and management. Presently, he is a post graduate student. He started his speech by stating a definition of aquaculture. ” Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms such as: fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and aquatic plants. He mentioned that fisheries production from the wide has already reached its limit and started to decline, and globally, aquculture production is growing so as to bridge the gap between fish demand and supply.

Picture 1: World production of capture fisheries and aquaculture

Picture 2: Sea food production in Africa

Aadel Saied went on further to explain the history of aquaculture in Egypt. “Hosha” is a traditional form of aquaculture that is commonly practice in Egypt for many centuries. Egypt Modern aquculuture started in the mid 1930s following the introduction of common carp at two research farms. Fish production has increased from about 92.5 thousand tones in 1971 to more than 1.5 million ton in 2019, with most of the growth occurring in Nile Delta. This increase is considered a success story. The biggest aquaculture in Egypt are: Kafr El Shaikh and Damietta Govenorates. Intensive aquaculture was introduced in the mid 1990s to increase the productivity of fish pond, the high return on investment is responsible for the expansion of intensive system. Aquculture in Egypt is also practice in semi-intensive, tanks,  intensive production in cages for both fish and crustaceans, integrated desert culture, and  recircularory aquaculture system. Also, he talked about how the government of Eygpt has motivated the Marine aquaculture sector in order to deal with the limited fresh water resources by building many hatcheries for sea bream and sea bass, and how the government has also decided to embark on Fin fish and shrimp aquaculture project so as to minimize fish importation, obtain foreign exchange, reduce the cost of sea food  and to create job opportunities. He listed 3 Egyptian aquaculture projects: Ghalion Aquaculture Project, National Company for Fisheries and Aquatic Animals (NCFA), and Suez Canal Aquaculture Company. He disscused the challenges of marine aquaculture to be: technical needs for sustainable shrimp production, legislation, long term investment, license, environmental impact especially shrimp aquaculture and economical issue. The requirements for a sustainable aquaculture were also highlighted by him to include: high level of training human resources, power and fuel at lower cost, laboratories for fish, financial aid activities, better qualities of fish fry and shrimp larvae, and high quality feed.

The third speakers were , Benjamin Bockarie from Sierra Leone and Zaharah F. Conteh from Sierra Leone. They talked about aquaculture in Sierra  Leone in terms of the productivity, economic contribution, and development. In Sierra Leone aquaculture has created more partnership from companies and NGOs which has brought about development. An example is the Sea Wright Mining Company partnering with Njala university in the provision Recircularory aquaculture systems for large scale production and research purposes. Private business like Sky fox and American Embassy of Sierra Leone are also supporting the growth of aquaculture in the country by creating job opportunitires for youth.  Newest development in Sierra Leone aquaculture are: ongoing construction of Recircularory aquaculture systems, training of thousands of youths in aquaculture entrepreneurship, NaYCOM buys sophisticated breeding equipments for hands on tools for university students. He explained the current situation of aquaculture in Sierra Leone as working smoothly as government, aqua business and non governmental sector have promoted aquaculture in the country. Based on productivity Mr Benjamin said aquaculture production in Sierra Leone has been increasing as more people are engaging in fish farming and as more local and technological ideas have increases the production level, adding values that promotes market supply. In terms of economic contribution, he explained that aquaculture has contributed to the blue economy, by contributing to food security and foreign earnings. Futhher more,  Mr Benjamin explained youth involvement in aquaculture in Sierra Leone. He said the youth have been steadily involved in aqua business and youth aquaculture entrepreneurship training opportunities. Also,  he talked on the recent establishment of the Sierra Leone sustainable fisheries and aquaculture society. Through the support of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Sea Wright Mining Company, Njala University, SKY FOX, NaYCOM and the Lattanzio kibbs consortium, Sierra Leone has successfully launched a formal society comprising of youth in aquaculture, professionals, business farms to provide service to local fish farmers and to create more rooms for partnership for aquaculture development in the country. He ended his speech with ” In the nearer future aquaculture in Sierra Leone and other African countries holds a great potential to boom considering the availability of natural respurces such as water,  land,  labor e.t.c to sustain the field.

Conclusively, report from this webinar has shown that fisheries production from the wild has been decreasing and over time aquculuture has helped bridge the gap between demand and supply. Aquaculture has been increasing in Africa due to new technologies, ideas and high rate of investment. Also,  youth involvement in Africa aquaculture has been increasing. This implies that, with the current growth of aquaculture, if the highlighted challenges are also addressed properly, there is a great future for aquaculture in Africa.

Fashagba Tosin Sarah, Aquaworld Reporter.

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