Tag Archives: aquaculture

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.

Egyptian tilapia promoted at La Cuisine International Food Festival

WorldFish provided 100 Kilograms of its fresh Abbassa tilapia to be cooked by the Egyptian Chefs Association (ECA) at La Cuisine Festival held in Cairo, Egypt, on 10 December.

The festival saw 1500 guests from around the world to sample dishes from chefs from countries including Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco, Italy, France, Spain, Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia, India, Russia, Mexico, in addition to Egypt.

Egypt is the world’s second largest producer of tilapia, producing more than one million tons per year. With almost all of the tilapia production consumed locally, WorldFish, along with other feeding companies and stakeholders of the sector in Egypt, are working on promoting farmed tilapia as an affordable, tasty and healthy source of protein for all Egyptians.

Malcolm Dickson, Program Manager for WorldFish said: “In Egypt, 27% of the population live in poverty and suffer from high rates of childhood stunting. This is why WorldFish is keen to promote tilapia as a cheap and nutritious source of protein for the poor. However, the market for tilapia needs to be expanded to all sectors of the population. Events such as La Cuisine, might make people think again about the type of fish they prepare for their families”.

This was the second cooperation between WorldFish and ECA after the first taste test workshop hosted by WorldFish on 29 August 2016 at the Abbassa Research Center. The first workshop aimed at introducing high quality Egyptian Abbassa strain tilapia to twenty of Egypt’s top chefs.

The Egyptian tilapia stand was sponsored by WorldFish along with leading private sector companies under the umbrella of the Aquatic Union for Fisheries Cooperatives.

Mohamed Gouda, Committee member of the Aquatic Union for Fisheries Cooperatives explained: “The Egyptian Tilapia was presented in four recipes which were a great success in this international festival. The Aquatic Union for Fisheries Cooperatives will continue its support for this fish along with the stakeholders of the aquaculture sector, by establishing the ‘Support Fund for Egyptian tilapia’. Its main role is to build the market reputation for tilapia and develop new aquaculture and marketing methods. In this context, a cooperation protocol with all stakeholders including research centers, aquaculture cooperatives, feeding companies and large fish farming businesses, is under preparation.”

For more information or to request an interview contact:

Toby Johnson, Head of Communications
Mobile Tel: +60 (0) 175 124 606
Email: t.johnson@cgiar.org
Web: worldfishcenter.org

About WorldFish
WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. Globally, more than one billion poor people obtain most of their animal protein from fish and 800 million depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. WorldFish is a member of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

About CGIAR
CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partners.

Global Aqua Feed Market Driven by Growth of the Aquaculture Industry

The field of aquaculture has, over the decades, witnessed significant growth owing to the surging demand for aquatic food stuffs, which in turn, has resulted in the increased demand for aqua feed. A report studying the performance of the global aqua feed market has been recently added to the colossal database of Market Research Reports Search Engine (MRRSE). The 88-page research report is titled “Aqua Feed Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 – 2019” and is a concise yet information-packed analysis of the global aqua feed market.

Browse Full Report with TOC : www.mrrse.com/aqua-feed-market

The research study highlights the major factors driving the aqua feed market and those that prove to be a hindrance to its development. According to the report, the global aqua feed market is fueled by the escalating consumption of fish and the growth of the aquaculture market. Rising demand for functional and conventional aqua feed from China and other Asian countries is bound to present the global market with strong opportunities for growth. However, the volatile nature of the prices of raw materials is a key factor challenging the development of the aqua feed market.

The aqua feed market is segmented on the basis of end use and region in order to fully understand and interpret the workings of the global market. On the basis of end use, the aqua feed market is categorized into mollusks, crustaceans, salmon, carps, tilapia, catfish, and others. On the basis of region, the aqua feed market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. Figures pertaining to demand, revenue, volume, and value are provided in the report from 2012 to 2019.

The research report includes a detailed section on the vendor landscape of the aqua feed market, in which leading competitors are identified and profiled on the basis of attributes such as company overview, product portfolio, financial standing, business strategy, and recent developments. A SWOT analysis of each of these companies studies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats faced during the forecast period. In addition, the report also makes use of Porter’s five forces analysis to understand the impact of suppliers, buyers, new entrants, substitutes, and rivals.

The most significant players operating in the global aqua feed market include Cermaq ASA, Avanti Feeds Ltd., Tongwei, Alltech Inc., Ridley Corporation, Norel Animal Nutrition, NK Ingredients Pte Ltd., Dibaq Aquaculture, Nutreco N.V., Aller Aqua A/S, Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited, Cargill Incorporated, BioMar A/S, Nutriad, and Beneo GmbH.

Contact:
Rohit Bhisey
Head – Internet Marketing
+1-518-730-0559

Scientists net virus behind tilapia die-offs in Israel and Ecuador

An international scientific team led by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Tel Aviv University has identified and characterized a novel virus behind massive die-offs of farmed tilapia in Israel and Ecuador, which threatens the $7.5 billion global tilapia industry. A paper in the journal mBio describes tilapia lake virus (TiLV) and provides information needed to fight the outbreak.

Known in its native Middle East as St. Peter’s fish and thought to be the biblical fish that fed multitudes, tilapia provides inexpensive dietary protein. The world’s second most farmed fish, tilapia is also the basis of aquaculture employment in developing countries in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. (The United States is the leading tilapia importer globally.) Since 2009, Israel has seen precipitous declines in tilapia, with annual yields plummeting as much as 85 percent–highly unusual considering the fish is known to be relatively resistant to viral infections. Similar die-offs have been seen in Ecuador and Colombia.

Diseased tilapia

Tilapia diseased from tilapia lake virus infection, Ecuador. Photo: Hugh Ferguson.

The scientists used high-throughput sequencing to determine the genetic code of the virus from tissue taken from diseased fish in Israel and Ecuador. This process would normally be sufficient to identify the culprit, but in this case, the resulting DNA sequences didn’t match any known virus, with the exception of a small genetic segment, that only remotely resembled a virus associated with the reproduction of influenza C.

Undeterred, the researchers employed other tools from their scientific tackle box, providing ample evidence that the genetic material was the same as the implicated virus dubbed TiLV. They used mass spectroscopy to characterize the proteins in cells growing the virus, which matched those they expected to see based on the genetic sequence. By analyzing the structure of viral DNA, they went on to observe 10 gene clusters with complementary endpoints, suggesting a circular form associated with a common type of viral reproduction involving a protein called a polymerase.

Finally and conclusively, healthy fish were exposed to TiLV cultured in a laboratory, resulting in disease that matched with what was seen in those countries: in Israel, the fish had swollen brains; in Ecuador, liver disease. In the coming weeks, the researchers will publish on the link between the TiLV and an outbreak of disease among tilapia in Colombia.

“The TiLV sequence has only minimal similarity in a small region of its genome to other viruses; thus, the methods we typically use to identify and characterize viruses through sequencing alone were insufficient,” says first author Eran Bacharach, a molecular virologist at Tel Aviv University.

“It appears to be most closely related to a family of influenza viruses called orthomyxoviruses; however, we still don’t understand much about its biology,” adds Nischay Mishra, associate research scientist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia’s Mailman School.

Importantly, the findings provide the genomic and protein sequences necessary for TiLV detection, containment, and vaccine development.

“We are shifting our focus now to implementing diagnostic tests for containment of infection and to developing vaccines to prevent disease,” says Avi Eldar of the Kimron Veterinary Institute in Bet Dagan, Israel.

The team of 18 researchers represent five institutions in four countries: the Center for Infection and Immunity and the New York Genome Center in the U.S., Tel Aviv University and Kimron Veterinary Institute in Israel; the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; and St. George’s University, Grenada, West Indies.

“The New York Genome Center was excited to join in characterizing this novel virus and contribute to this important environmental and globally impactful research,” says Toby Bloom, the Center’s deputy scientific director.

“Gumshoe epidemiology, molecular gymnastics and classical microbiological methods were required to link this new virus to disease,” says Ian Lipkin, senior author, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School. “Resolution of this mystery was only possible through the concerted efforts of this talented group of international collaborators.”

While best known for identifying viruses behind human disease, the Center for Infection and Immunity, pinpointed the virus beyond a disease that decimated salmon farms in Europe in 2010. They have done similar work with seals, sea lions, and Great Apes.

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The current research was supported by grants from the United States-Israel Bi-National Agricultural Research & Development Fund (BARD IS-4583-13), the Israel Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development Chief Scientist Office (847-0389-14), U.S. National Institutes for Health (AI109761), USAID PREDICT, and a fellowship to J.E.K.T. from the Manna Center Program in Food Safety and Security at Tel Aviv University. The authors declare no conflicts.