Tilapia currently represents more than 70% of the total aquaculture production in the country and is an affordable source of food and nutrition for Egypt’s poor.
Despite its rapid growth and success, over the last five years the aquaculture sector has experienced increasing challenges with competition for water. Reuse of agricultural water for fish culture, intensification and possibly changes in weather, have led to significant increases in the number of fish mortalities reported by farmers.
This has led to considerable economic losses and is in turn affecting the quantity, quality and prices of fish in the market.
Fish diseases are challenging to prevent and control, and the resulting poor performance of farms is having a negative impact on investment and expansion of the aquaculture sector. There is an urgent need to clearly understand the causative agents and risk factors for such unusual mortalities in order to develop risk reduction interventions in the form of better management practices.
To help address the issue, WorldFish hosted a seminar on “Fish Health Management”, organized in partnership with the feed company Skretting, on 16 December 2014 at WorldFish’s Abbassa Research Center in Sharkia, Egypt.
The meeting brought together more than one hundred participants including fish farmers, hatchery owners, aquaculture experts, researchers, consultants and equipment suppliers.
In his opening speech, WorldFish Egypt Country Director, Dr. Gamal el Naggar explained how since 1998 WorldFish research and training activities have played an important role in contributing to the success and development of the Egyptian aquaculture sector.
Around 1,600 scientists and development professionals have been trained at the Abbassa facility since 1998, and during 2012-2014 WorldFish facilitated the training of around 2,000 fish farmers on best management practices.
The training project also produced a series of Best Management Practice videos that teach farmers the importance of pond preparation, feed management, water management, fish health care, and postharvest treatments – all of which are essential for culturing productive and healthy fish.
Mr. Ayman Rostom, Skretting Egypt General Manager, presented the history of Skretting emerging as an international fish feed producer, while Dr. Arjen Roem, Skretting’s Technical Manager for Africa, gave two presentations emphasizing the importance of best management practices for fish health management, and the role of supplemented diets in reducing fish stress and enhancing performance in ponds.
Recognizing the importance of this emerging challenge, WorldFish is working together with public and private sector partners and increasing its research focus on fish health, not only in Egypt but across it’s program countries where fish is a staple source of food, nutrition and income.
The seminar was organized as part of the Improving Employment and Income through Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector project, which is part of the CGIAR Research Project on Livestock and Fish.
For more information on the technical presentations by Skretting, please contact: Arjen Roem (Arjen.Roem@nutreco.com)