Category Archives: Sustainable Culture

Double fish production while preserving biodiversity — can it be done?

Tanzania, perhaps best known for safaris over its vast open plains, has ambitious plans for diminutive freshwater wildlife with enormous, untapped potential.

Tilapia, second only to carp as the world’s most frequently farmed fish, live in huge numbers in the Great Lakes (Victoria, Tanganyika, Malawi/Nyasa) that cover six percent of the country. The lakes are considered a global biodiversity hotspot – one of only 25 worldwide – due to the hundreds of species of cichlid fish, including some of the 30-odd known subspecies of tilapia that are found in Tanzania.

However, Tanzanians eat on average only 8kg of fish per year, less than half the international average of 17kg. Around a third of children under five are deficient in iron and vitamin A, contributing to stunting, while about a third of women between 15-49 years old are deficient in iron, vitamin A and iodine.

Fish also provide nutrients in a more efficient way than other sources of animal protein because they convert more of their food into body mass. Some types, such as tilapia, are particularly attractive because they can be reared largely on inexpensive vegetable matter and agricultural waste, while many of the fish species reared in the developed world have to be fed on fish meal.

At the moment, tilapia farming in Tanzania is mostly for subsistence or for small-scale markets and often uses non-native species, such as Nile tilapia. Around half of the world’s tilapia species are native to Tanzania, but 99% of commercial production is currently in China, Honduras and the US.

Jennifer Shepperson with Oreochromis species. Shepperson is a Research Project Support Officer at the School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University (Credit: Tarang Mehta, Earlham Institute)

Jennifer Shepperson with Oreochromis species. Shepperson is a Research Project Support Officer at the School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University (Credit: Tarang Mehta, Earlham Institute)

To develop an aquaculture strategy for Tanzania, 30 scientists representing Tanzanian stakeholders as well as international research organisations met for a three-day workshop in Zanzibar. The meeting was funded by the Swedish “Agriculture for Food Security 2030” (AgriFoSe) program and jointly organised by University of Dar Es Salaam, Worldfish Malaysia, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Participation of scientists from Bangor University and Earlham Institute was supported by a BBSRC award from the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF).

The main outcome of this workshop was a new consortium between the partners, committed to establishing a National Aquaculture Development Centre (NADC). The NADC could help triple the contribution that aquaculture makes to the economy, double the production of fish in the country by 2025 and improve access to fish as a protein source – especially for women.

Tilapia species from a broad range of ecosystems – including lakes, river systems, reservoirs and fish ponds across the country – will form the focus of the research. Genetic analysis of 31 species, including 26 that are found nowhere else on the planet, could reveal important traits for creating the country’s own commercial broodstock.

Using native species could also help secure the nation’s biodiversity. For example, it eliminates the risk of non-native strains escaping and hybridising with wild species. One species, Singida tilapia, is virtually extinct in its natural habitat since Nile tilapia and perch were introduced in the 1950s.

Lessons learned from the worldwide aquaculture industry, which in 2013 overtook beef production, will help ensure that sustainable practices are adopted from the start. Tanzania’s unique tilapia could become as valuable as the country’s gold but with more people able to experience the benefits more equally.

Yohana Budeba, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF), United Republic of Tanzania, says: “Tanzania attained a GDP per capita of USD 1,043 by 2014 and it is considered to be at the threshold of graduating from Low to Middle Income Country (MIC) by 2025 when the GDP per capita is expected to reach USD 3,000 (nominal)(NFYDP II, 2016). To realize this, Tanzanians must work hard to achieve the development aspirations articulated in the Tanzania Development Vision 2015. The agricultural sector, which supports more that 70% of the national economy, is well placed to contribute significantly to the expected rise in the GDP per capita. The Fisheries sub-sector currently contributes 4.5% of the national GDP and this contribution is expected to rise with the development of semi-intensive and intensive aquaculture in the country. The Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, therefore takes this opportunity to welcome the Zanzibar Resolution on Aquaculture Development in Tanzania and the international support to aquaculture development in the country. We hope that this support will spur aquaculture development and bring tangible benefits to the country’s economy.”

Charles Mahika, Director of the Aquaculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF), United Republic of Tanzania, says: “We have a chance to increase our country’s share in aquaculture’s blue revolution, an industry growing faster than any other food-production sector in the world. Tilapia production could help meet the nutritional demands of our growing population in a sustainable way as well providing a surplus for export. Tapping our own rich diversity will reduce our dependence on external markets, increase food security and make the final product more appealing to Tanzanian consumers. We aim to triple the contribution of aquaculture to GDP from 1.4% to 4.2% by 2025.”

Federica Di Palma, Director of Science, Earlham Institute (EI), says: “By sharing the results of genetic analysis and helping to build expertise, we can make a real contribution to helping to grow a national industry. A Tanzanian aquaculture seed bank could also be valued by breeders worldwide, for example by offering strains adapted to harsh environments. I am grateful to our Global Research Challenge fund awarded by BBSRC, which have allowed us to contribute to this amazing effort and lay the foundations for aquaculture development in Tanzania. It has been an inspiring and humbling experience to be part of this endeavour.”

George Turner, School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University, says: “I have been studying cichlid fishes for over 30 years and their incredible speciation is not only fascinating for research and worth protecting, but could also harbour valuable traits for developing an independent aquaculture industry. With Earlham Institute we are developing a phone app to help fish farmers check the authenticity of any fingerlings. It could help identify regions particularly rich in pure species, where conservation measures could be put in place. It could also flag up regions with a high number of hybrids that pose a biosecurity risk.”

John Benzie from WorldFish says: “We aim to help transform the productivity of Tanzanian aquaculture while minimising impacts on the environment. We can share best practice from around the world and help train a pool of geneticists in cutting edge breeding technologies that can be used to develop new commercially-viable strains of tilapia. For example, these technologies can be used to isolate beneficial traits such as fast growth while discarding negative traits such as susceptibility to disease.”

Melanie Welham, BBSRC Chief Executive, says: “Investment from the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund can help Tanzanian experts, working with UK researchers, harness their natural resources to sustainably alleviate undernutrition. We are delighted that the workshop held in October has produced an ambitious resolution to improve fish production.”

Dirk-Jan De Koning from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), says: “The provision of healthy fingerlings (young fish) of varieties that are well adapted to local production environments is a key requirement for aquaculture in any country. To establish and maintain a brood stock to supply the industry with fingerlings requires long-term investments in infrastructure and training.

Matern Mtolera, Deputy Director of the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Dar es Salaam, says: “Our modest success in the past decade in stimulating marine and freshwater tilapia farming include the emergence of enthusiastic small and medium aqua-enterprises that are eager than ever to farm tilapia. With the support from the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) that brings with it a unique set of global expertise joining our effort, Tanzania has a unique opportunity to successfully address her aquaculture farmers’ limitations particularly on unavailability of reliable seed and lack of skills in genetic management of stock.”

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For further information, please contact:
Hayley London
Marketing & Communications Officer, Earlham Institute (EI)
+44 (0)1603 450 107
hayley.london@earlham.ac.uk

About Earlham Institute

The Earlham Institute (EI) is a leading research institute focusing on the development of genomics and computational biology. EI is based within the Norwich Research Park and is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC) – £6.45M in 2015/2016 – as well as support from other research funders. EI operates a National Capability to promote the application of genomics and bioinformatics to advance bioscience research and innovation.

EI offers a state of the art DNA sequencing facility, unique by its operation of multiple complementary technologies for data generation. The Institute is a UK hub for innovative bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. It is also actively involved in developing novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational Bioscience. Additionally, the Institute offers a training programme through courses and workshops, and an outreach programme targeting key stakeholders, and wider public audiences through dialogue and science communication activities. http://www.earlham.ac.uk / @EarlhamInst

Availability Of Three-, Four-Star BAP Tilapia From China To Increase

Maoming City Maonan Sangao Fine Breeding Base, one of China’s largest tilapia hatcheries, has attained Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.

The hatchery’s certification will likely increase the availability of three- and four-star BAP tilapia from China. Groups are capable of offering four-star BAP product if the product originates from BAP-certified hatcheries, feed mills, farms and processing plants. It’s the highest designation in the BAP third-party certification program.

The Fishin’ Company, one of the world’s largest tilapia importers, sponsored Maoming City Maonan Sangao Fine Breeding Base to apply for BAP certification. With the hatchery’s certification, the U.S.-based company will be capable of offering four-star BAP tilapia, as it sources fingerlings from the hatchery.

About BAP
A division of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Best Aquaculture Practices is an international certification program based on achievable, science-based and continuously improved performance standards for the entire aquaculture supply chain — farms, hatcheries, processing plants and feed mills — that assure healthful foods produced through environmentally and socially responsible means. BAP certification is based on independent audits that evaluate compliance with the BAP standards developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

First Latin American Company To Offer Four-Star BAP Tilapia

Paraiso Springs Aquaculture Guatemala is Latin America’s first company qualified to offer four-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) tilapia, the Global Aquaculture Alliance announced in early March.

The company became eligible to offer four-star BAP tilapia with the BAP certification of its hatchery. Its new processing plant and farm — located in Caserio Los Angeles, San Luis Peten, Guatemala — are already BAP certified, as are the feed mills from which it sources feed, Areca Feed Mill in Guatemala and Cargill de Honduras.

Four-star BAP status denotes that the product originates from a BAP-certified processing plant, farm, hatchery and feed mill. It’s the highest achievement in the BAP program.

“We are very proud of the hard work our crew put forth to obtain BAP four-star certification. It certainly is an accomplishment for a small family-run operation like Paraiso Springs. This is a big part of our quality commitment to our clients and community,” said Alejandro Palomo, president of Paraiso Springs Aquaculture Guatemala.

Currently, worldwide, there are 74 BAP-certified tilapia processing plants and 68 BAP-certified tilapia farms, representing more than 175,000 metric tons annually.

About BAP
A division of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Best Aquaculture Practices is an international certification program based on achievable, science-based and continuously improved performance standards for the entire aquaculture supply chain — farms, hatcheries, processing plants and feed mills — that assure healthful foods produced through environmentally and socially responsible means. BAP certification is based on independent audits that evaluate compliance with the BAP standards developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

Aquaculture Division Reports Positive Results in Tilapia Farming Research

LAS VEGAS, NV–(Marketwired – Mar 14, 2016) – Alkame Holdings, Inc. (OTC: ALKM), a publicly traded health and wellness technology holding company with a focus on patentable, innovative, and eco-friendly products, is pleased to announce positive results in Aquaculture farming using its patented water treatment technology.

Alkame Holdings Inc. teamed up with Keeton Industries, Seaworth Farms, Alpine Aquaculture and Wellington Operating Company, and constructed a research system in Wellington, Colorado and studied the effects of Alkame’s patented technology when applied to intensive recirculating aquaculture systems. The research was conducted with Tilapia, and according to Wikipedia, Tilapia is currently the fourth most popular type of fish behind tuna, salmon and Alaskan Pollock, and the third most popular aquaculture or farm raised seafood product behind shrimp and salmon globally. More than 80 nations produce and farm tilapia, including the United States. The US produces 10 thousand tons of Tilapia against a consumption of 2.5 million, with Americans consuming over 1 pound of tilapia per person each year. Farmed tilapia production is about 1.5 million tons annually, with an estimated value of $1.8 billion (USD), about equal to that of salmon and trout.

Testing of the Alkame Technology is led by scientist and consulting biologist, Jim Keeton, a proven expert in this field. Jim Keeton and Keeton Industries has remained at the forefront of developing aquatic technology for successful fish farming, and has actively been involved in experimentation, design and manufacture of various components and equipment of sustainable design and engineering of intensive aquaculture systems, operations, and manufacturing solutions, with more than 40 years of experience.

“The major advantage of Alkame technology is that it can completely or partially destroy organics in water by converting them into various harmless intermediates and end products,” stated lead scientist Jim Keeton. “Alkame’s advanced system and design ensures that high concentrations of dissolved oxidants are released to the water when circulated across the cells, reducing Nitrites by 50 %. Clarity and solids were also substantially reduced from 4 inches to over 20 inches after oxidation within 48 hours. Tannins and Lignin’s from feed leaching were removed with the Alkame process along with organic solids creating clearer and healthier water conditions. These factors could substantially reduce the size and costs of bio-filtration design for intensive recirculation systems.”

“Our studies show that the Alkame Technology aids in the overall health of the water, which in turn creates a healthier environment to raise the fish. The Tilapia benefit by lowering the mortality rate (less than 2% mortality), accelerating growth (1 gram to about 38 to 50 grams in less than 60 days), and by reducing the size and cost to the bottom line of bio-filtration efficiency. Producing a cleaner healthier water for the Tilapia is a game changer for Aquaculture systems, and the industry as a whole worldwide,” stated Alkame CEO, Robert Eakle. “After many months of research, and gathering up all of this encouraging hard analytical data, we can now begin to move towards exploiting our technology in this massive industry through various partnerships and joint ventures or licensing arrangements. We are very much looking forward to the pursuit of this application for our IP,” Eakle added.

About Alkame Holdings, Inc.

Alkame Holdings, Inc. is a publicly traded health and wellness technology holding company, with a focus on patentable, innovative, and eco-friendly consumer products. The Company’s wholly-owned subsidiaries market and distribute enhanced waters utilizing an exclusive patented formula and technology to create water with several unique properties, enabling an increase to available oxygen content, optimized pH levels, as well as the added benefits of electrolytes, and enhancement of antioxidant properties, equating into many potential health benefits, such as a reduced structure for permeability, improved metabolic efficiency, a boosted immune system, improved cardio respiratory function, and a decrease in lactic acid for faster muscle recovery. The organization is diligently building a strong foundation through the launch and acquisition of appropriate business assets, and by pursuing multiple applications to utilize its Intellectual Property by placement into several emerging business sectors, such as the growing aqua-culture industry, consumer bottled water and RTD products, household pet products, horticulture and agriculture applications, as well as many other various water treatment solutions to both new and existing business platforms.

For more information, visit www.alkameholdingsinc.com

Feed experiment to increase nutritional value of tilapia

1 February 2016 – WorldFish scientists will begin to experiment with feed ingredients that can increase the nutritional value of tilapia as part of a new project.

AquaLINC, funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aims to increase supplies of fish that are more affordable and have a higher nutritional content for consumers in Egypt and Bangladesh. Implemented by WorldFish, the project will focus on developing production models for tilapia that meet the demands of resource poor consumers and are profitable for producers and retailers.

Using feed-additives to increase the Omega 3, and micronutrient content of farmed fish will have significant benefits for all, but especially for resource poor consumers who are more likely to be under nourished.

Recent WorldFish research in Egypt and Bangladesh suggests poor consumers typically prefer purchasing less expensive, smaller fish while aquaculture production systems in both countries are increasingly geared towards producing larger fish. Focusing on a popular farmed fish, tilapia, AquaLINC will examine the business case for how to increase the production and market for smaller fish.

Smaller fish which consume less feed and have shorter lifecycles may reduce the environmental footprint for fish production, another research area for the project.

Nigel Preston, Director General, WorldFish: “We are committed to innovations that will promote pro-poor fish value chains. Increased consumption of fish in nutritionally insecure parts of the world will improve food and nutrition security.”

AquaLINC will establish enabling conditions for the development and expansion of pro-poor tilapia value chains in Bangladesh and Egypt by testing the economic and technical feasibility of producing more nutrient-rich and smaller-sized fish and its acceptance by poor consumers. These innovations are expected to lead to: improved quality of fish; increased consumption of fish by the poor, particularly for nutritionally vulnerable populations (women of reproductive age and young children); and lower environmental impacts in fish production.

The three-year project will build on current research on the nutrition and health benefits of fish. It will also add to the research on increasing the affordability of fish for poor consumers and a growing body of work on the environmental impact of farmed fish production.

For more information or to request an interview contact:

Toby Johnson, Senior Media Relations Manager
Mobile Tel: +60 (0) 175 124 606
Email: t.johnson@cgiar.org
Web: worldfishcenter.org