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Aquaculture is the Fastest Growing Economic Activity in Mexico

MEXICO - Aquaculture production in Mexico reached a record of almost 300,000 tonnes in 2011, up from 240,000 the previous year, said National Aquaculture and Fisheries (CONAPESCA) Commissioner, Ramon Corral Avila.

Mr Corral Avila said that this sector represents a great opportunity to make a valuable contribution to food security in the world and particularly in Mexico.

He said that while capture production levels remain stable, aquaculture production has increased worldwide in recent years, becoming the fastest growing economic activity in Mexico.

CONAPESCA reported that while capture production can not grow, due to sustainability issues, last year sardine production reached 800,000 tons, more than half of national fish production.

The total production of capture in Mexico last year reached 1.4 million tons, while aquaculture contributed almost 300,000 tons of production.

Mr Corral vila also spoke about the challenges of food security. He said that to support the efforts and goals of the United Nations Organisation for Food and Agriculture (FAO), Mexico has promoted smallholder aquaculture activities.

In Chiapas, CONAPESCA invested $120 million in two aquaculture projects. In Lake Chapala a catfish mariculture project, which is expected to generate 25,000 tonnes, was set up.

As for the challenges in inspection and surveillance, there has been a huge growth in awareness.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo Sanchez Mujica, Director General of the Trust Funds to Agriculture (FIRA), spoke of the momentum of funding being given to fisheries and aquaculture.

The owner of FIRA said there is great support for aquaculture conversion (switch from fishing to aquaculture). He said that 80 per cent of the support is given to aquaculture and the remaining 20 per cent to fishing.

Mr Mujica Sanchez stressed the importance of supporting projects in all processes from technological development, planting, capture, marketing, before being transported. He said that in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, projects funded replacement engines which supports not only the productive part of the fisherman, but also the environment, as these new engines cleaner and environmentally friendly.

This year, he said, is expected to end with a figure of five billion dollars in funding for employees, aquaculture and fisheries, 30 per cent more than last year.

Lucy Towers

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