Aquaculture can offset fish deficit – Scientist

FishA research scientist has said Ghana’s fish deficit of 960,000 metric tonnes could be met if government puts adequate measures in place to improve aquaculture in the country, especially in the three northern regions.

Mr Etornyo Agbeko, a researcher with the Water Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (WRI-CSIR), said when aquaculture is embraced, fish would be in abundance, which would address the challenge of the nation’s high malnutrition rate of about 28 per cent.

It would also reduce the nation’s fish import of 175, 000 metric tons estimated to cost $157 million.

Mr Agbeko, who disclosed these to the GNA on Tuesday in Tamale, said government needed to resource the WRI in the area of infrastructure to help meet the fish shortfall in the country.

He said bad fishing practices and the negative effects of climate change, which included low and high water levels, had affected fish stock,  resulting in a dwindling effect in fish production.

Mr Agbeko said another advantage of aquaculture was that water from dugout, which was normally used to irrigate crops, could be a source of fertilizer to increase fish yield.

“For instance pilot projects carried out in the various dugouts in the three northern regions indicates that it is feasible for most of them to be used for aquaculture, but all we need is a facility to raise fingerlings for farmers,” he said.

Mr Agbeko said there was only four fingerlings hatchery facilities of which WRI had only one located in Akosombo while the three belonged to private individuals.

He said that the hatcheries were not enough to cater for the demand for fingerlings in the country.

Mr Agbeko said the WRI office in Tamale received requests from individuals in the Upper West, Upper East and Northern Regions (three northern regions) last year for the supply of about one million fingerlings, but the temporary hatchery facility could not meet the high demand as the institute was able to make available only 10,000 fingerlings.

He appealed to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to provide fingerling hatchery facilities in the Northern Region, which would serve the Brong Ahafo and the northern regions.

Sharing his experience about a climate change project implemented at Mawulea and Zialuwu in the Mion District, Mr Agbeko said aquaculture and culture-based fisheries had become a source of livelihood to community members in those areas.

He said the project, aside complementing the nation’s quest for food security, had also ensured the conservation of the dugout and soil moisture in surroundings as a means of adapting to climate change.

Mr Agbeko said the project revealed that the Akosombo strain, popularly known as tilapia, could do well in all the three northern regions.

Source: GNA

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