Sustainability Barometer Helps Improve African Aquaculture Management

Lucy Towers
02 February 2016, at 12:00am

AFRICA - In order to help tilapia farms in Africa evaluate their farm management plans, a sustainability barometer has been designed as part of a project conducted by IRTA.

Aquaculture is one of the activities that can have a positive impact on sustainable growth in the African continent. The ITACA project was developed within this framework, for which IRTA´s experts have collaborated with the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (NIOF, Egypt) and the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA, Senegal) to improve the tilapia (Oreochromis spp) production sustainability.

Through this project, which ended in December 2015, specific management plans were designed for six facilities (three in Senegal and three in Egypt); 20 indicators, such as costs, water use, food transformation index, cost of production, or training of employees, among others, were defined.

The follow-up of these parameters allowed generating objective data that were then used to improve the results of the exploitations and assess them from an economic, environmental, and social perspective.

Furthermore, an automatic monitoring and control system was also used in two of the selected fish farms thanks to the collaboration of the engineering company Inkoa.

For the farms to evaluate the results of the management plans, a “sustainability barometer” was designed; with this tool it is possible to perform an easy and prompt diagnosis of the farm´s economic, environmental, and social sustainability. It is an open tool that can be found in the project´s website: www.itaca-

Several resources are available on the web, e.g., management files were several indicators are presented, as well as their relevance to assess the development of the production, and suggestions for their follow-up. Likewise, tutorial videos on recirculation systems, efficient water use, biosafety, and diet, among others can be watched.

The three years the ITACA project has been running have helped to gain a deeper insight into the hurdles associated to tilapia farming in Africa, which consequently has allowed suggesting technological solutions applied to specific circumstances in Senegal and Egypt. The will of the project is that the work carried out to be a model for other countries in the African continent.