Timorese tilapia boost

April 1, 2016 09:59

A HATCHERY which will produce up to 5 million genetically improved farmed tilapia (GIFT) a year has been opened in Timor-Leste, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to FishnewsEU.

The $4 million project is part of the country’s National Aquaculture Development Strategy (2012–2030), which aims to reduce undernourishment by increasing per capita consumption of fish from 6 to 15 kg by 2020 and was inaugurated by HE Estanislau da Silva, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Ambassador of New Zealand, Jonathan Schwass.

GIFT were first supplied to Timor-Leste in April 2015, when 10,200 broodstock were sent from WorldFish Headquarters in Penang Malaysia, to the Gleno Fish Hatchery in Ermera. In parallel, the construction and refurbishment of the new hatchery at Gleno was undertaken, with work completed in December 2015 and operations starting from early January 2016.

WorldFish developed the GIFT strain, which thrives in a wide range of environments and can grow 50-80% faster than other strains of non-improved fish. It is currently produced in 14 countries, requires no antibiotics and has a lower carbon footprint than either beef or pork. From a nutritional point of view, it is an affordable source of heart friendly omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients that are vital for childhood development and pregnant mothers.

In view of the need to make this a sustainable enterprise, emphasis is given to capacity building and together with the Asian Institute of Technology and WorldFish, a business plan has been developed. Now the hatchery has the potential of producing up to 5 million fish fry per year. Fry can, in turn, be supplied to support Timor-Leste’s burgeoning aquaculture industry and proceeds can be ploughed back into the hatchery for running costs and development.

Its systematic broodstock management and fingerling production system underpins a key aim of the new hatchery, which is to maintain the genetic integrity of the brood stock thereby ensuring that the inherent productivity gains are preserved.

Ambassador of New Zealand, Jonathan Schwass, said: “Aquaculture is one of New Zealand’s most important areas of activity in Timor-Leste. It has the potential to dramatically increase the amount of protein available to families, and help farmers improve the viability of their businesses.”

HE Estanislau da Silva, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, added: “Aquaculture development is one of the top priorities for this government. And tilapia, in particular, holds great potential because of its versatility, nutritional qualities and potential to address the availability of fish, in particular for resource poor communities.”

Director General, WorldFish, Nigel Preston, refleted: “Timor-Leste has in place an ambitious business plan to build the aquaculture sector and this hatchery will play a pivotal role in the supply of good quality broodstock and seed that will ensure that some of those key goals can be met. With aquaculture providing such promise in improving food and nutrition security for the Timorese, WorldFish remains fully committed to supporting the growth of the sector.”

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