Realising the potential of African aquaculture

Realising the potential of African aquaculture

Karisa (R) speaking at the Fish for Africa Innovation Hub (FAIH) Open up Working day

Can you offer a temporary summary of your aquaculture profession?

I have been concerned in aquaculture considering the fact that 1996, when I joined Kenya Marine and Fisheries Study Institute as a analysis scientist. At that time, the target was on breeding for conservation of endangered and threatened species of Lake Victoria and significantly less on farming for food items or markets. Amongst our successes was the breakthrough in breeding the African carp (Labeo victorianus) which I undertook as component of my Master’s diploma programme at the Swedish Centre for Biodiversity. I served as a nationwide chair of the Aquaculture Improvement Doing work Group, whose purpose was to institute a science-primarily based aquaculture advancement drive in Kenya.

Right after top the transformation of the Sagana centre into the Countrywide Aquaculture Exploration Improvement and Training Centre, in Kenya, I joined WorldFish Egypt and Nigeria, in which the strategy of the Fish for Africa Innovation Hub was born. The hub supported capacity creating of African countries in aquaculture and, by the time I left, had skilled individuals in more than 110 nations around the world around the world, attracting numerous partnerships.

Have you performed a element in Afraq2021?

I’ve been included from inception from March 2018 when the director of Central Laboratory for Aquaculture Research (CLAR) and I (symbolizing WorldFish in Egypt) wrote to the Globe Aquaculture Modern society requesting the conference. I have been part of the organising committee as the secretary of the African Chapter of WAS. I am also taking part in the Afraq21 conference symbolizing the Globe Lender. I will be presenting a paper entitled “Financing sustainable compact and medium scale aquaculture expansion In Africa” at the finance and expense session.

What influenced you to turn out to be concerned in aquaculture?

Since I was younger, I have been a fish eater and in our rural village, we fished for some cichlids from regional seasonal streams and rivers. Rising up, I found initial the depletion of this source and drying up of most of the streams. With no fish still left, there ended up tries to farm tilapia at our neighborhood District Place of work, but this was unsuccessful owing to absence of feed and shortage of h2o. So, my inspiration was in making an attempt to make it work and later on viewing achievements amongst neighborhood and personal ventures has spurred me on.

person holding a carp above a fish tank
Karisa has been fascinated in neighborhood fish farms given that he was youthful

© Harrison Karisa

What’s your proudest achievement in the sector to date?

Looking at the transformation and accomplishment amongst entrepreneurial farmers across the African continent. Of training course, this has been a progressive triumph which was defined when in 2007, as programme coordinator, I introduced my vision to “put aquaculture on the Kenyan map” to a federal government delegation led by a minister. This began a transfer that observed significant allocation of revenue to aquaculture advancement by the govt and broader participation of the private sector who, as a result, benefited from the opportunities produced by the initial community investment into the sector.

Have you encountered any particular individuals or organisations that we can all understand from?

I have fulfilled many appealing folks and organisations functioning in this sector. It may perhaps not be reasonable to get started mentioning them by name at the risk of leaving out vital men and women and teams. I would like, on the other hand, to salute the several farmers and hatchery producers who have experienced to pioneer this work in different international locations and often in areas thought to be unsuitable for aquaculture.

The numerous fish feed producers – the two regional and intercontinental – who have designed a severe contribution to offering the significantly-needed high quality fish feeds at very affordable prizes are entitled to a point out too, as effectively as those entrepreneurs who have supported farmers by giving markets and current market logistics.

Many governing administration officers have labored hard to make enabling insurance policies and regulatory frameworks to make certain sustainable environments for improvement. Aquaculture could not have arrived at exactly where it is without the need of lively participation of a varied group of youthful innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs who have used significant exertion in applying innovation to fix difficulties facing aquaculture. Last of all, recent yrs have seen a increasing interest by monetary establishments to fund the sector, in spite of the dearth of data to guidance the various investments.

What does a normal working day in your latest function consist of?

It includes meetings with shoppers and fellow colleagues doing work in diverse nations in the entire world. We typically discuss technological factors of new and on-going aquaculture and fisheries projects supported by the financial institution. This assistance includes tips on making sure environmental integrity of initiatives and application of most effective aquaculture practice and innovations – particularly in line with weather modify, and environmental and social safeguards. Exactly where necessary, I critique phrases of references for unique scientific tests and detect suited candidates for consultancies, and evaluate goods and reports for excellent command.

What are the most significant things you’ve learned about African aquaculture about the several years?

Although we have been talking about the likely for aquaculture to acquire in Africa for a long time, we are now at the ideal time for realising this possible. The explanations for dismal overall performance in excess of the yrs are nicely recognized and are not insurmountable. In the previous handful of years, we have observed a proliferation of major investments, by each the public and personal sector, which has enhanced the provision of top quality inputs these kinds of as seed and feed, as nicely as the risk to interact in more effective programs – like cages, recirculation aquaculture methods (RAS) and aquaponics.

carp fingerlings in a net
Aquaculture’s improvement in Africa has stalled formerly, but renewed financial investment and improvements could transform this

© Harrison Karisa

Also, aquaculture has been accompanied by innovations in conditions of the use of cellular telephony to share complex information and current market intelligence amongst farmers, enhanced use of drinking water high-quality checking gizmos for pond management, as very well as the use of novel elements these as insect meal and other regionally out there plant-based feed resources, to swap more high priced fish meal and rising diversification of aquaculture products.

With the appropriate combine of coverage and investment decision, African aquaculture has started to consider its rightful position as a feasible alternative to capture fisheries. Egypt, where by aquaculture supplies 80 percent of its fish requirements, is a fantastic illustration of what can materialize.

What are the important issues Africa has to triumph over to fulfil its aquaculture likely?

Africa’s critical worries involve the absence of affordable high quality inputs, primarily seed and feed, and dependence on a number of species for aquaculture (at the moment Nile tilapia and African catfish account for more than 95 {aa306df364483ed8c06b6842f2b7c3ab56b70d0f5156cbd2df60de6b4288a84f} of harvests), in spite of the quite a few species with farming opportunity in the continent.

African catfish
The majority of farmed fish in Africa are tilapia and catfish (pictured)

Other issues include the absence of specialized knowhow amid aquaculture practitioners in Africa, insufficient policy and regulatory frameworks supporting the sector development, threats of weather adjust and biosecurity, insufficient general public and non-public expenditure on aquaculture growth thanks to adverse publicity and the absence of champions.

There is also an insufficient software of area alternatives, and a absence of data and data to affect determination makers and money institutions.

Do you assume engineering, primarily local climate-good engineering, has an crucial role to perform in the enhancement of the sector in Africa?

Without a doubt, Africa has also viewed an awakening and of technological development that has been borne in the African continent. A superior instance is the use of cell networks to share knowledge, and selection of data. Other people involve recirculation aquaculture devices, in-pond raceway techniques, cage aquaculture, the use of non-fed species – this sort of as seaweeds and some shellfish – and the use of insect meals to exchange fishmeal in aquafeeds.

Which species and locations do you feel have the best possible for the sustainable development of the sector?

Africa has been recognised to produce farmed tilapia and catfish throughout the continent. Nile tilapia (Orechromis niloticus) and African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) are very likely to keep on dominating freshwater aquaculture. Other broadly farmed tilapias include things like a few-spotted tilapia, blue tilapia and Mozambique tilapia.

Nonetheless, mariculture species are rising in coastal spots – with species produced which include breams, snappers, shrimps, seaweed, oysters, seabass and milkfish. Even so, the fish with greatest opportunity for sustainable development will be those people that do not require feeding or at the very least can do with no pricey fish feeds – these kinds of as carp, oysters, seaweeds and tilapia. Tilapia is a diverse team and most promising also because they can tolerate a wide range of salinities, even though they are not able to do extremely effectively in colder regions.

How do you see the sector evolving over the following ten years? And outside of that?

I see aquaculture continuing to improve owing to enhanced need for seafood amidst stagnating fisheries and a growing populace and center class. Elevated application of local weather-clever aquaculture technologies, intensification and amplified productivity will proceed in the small- and medium-term. Enlargement into new h2o bodies and the maritime natural environment – utilizing cage aquaculture, and offshore mariculture strategies – is possible to increase, with improved and enhanced inputs. We are also probable to improve the intensification of pond devices, electrical power-economical RAS, aquaponics and other resilient culture programs.

The sector is also very likely to see much more species diversification and aquaculture getting to be the principal supply of fish for Africans. This will be accompanied by far more financial investment in top quality-oriented write-up-harvest managing and price-included aquaculture items in the following a long time and past.

If you could fix a single obstacle in African aquaculture what would it be?

The most important challenge is lack of expertise and knowledge amongst practitioners. This is a critical obstacle in undertaking selective breeding programmes, jogging hatcheries and the administration of farms. Sorting this potential problem is a critical precedence, and it is essential to provide the two younger and feminine business owners with very affordable credit score, to enable them to set what they have learnt into exercise. This obstacle will be solved as a result of both equally public and non-public expenditure targeted at constructing the necessary institutional capacities.

Rob Fletcher


Senior editor
at The Fish Web site

Rob Fletcher has been creating about aquaculture because 2007, as editor of Fish Farmer, Fish Farming Expert and The Fish Internet site. He has an MA in historical past from the College of Edinburgh and an MSc in sustainable aquaculture from the College of St Andrews. He at present lives and operates in Scotland.