Monday, March 2, 2015
Development of fish farming through culture of improved fish variety at National Aquaculture Centre in Zomba
While the production from natural stocks of fish in the wild lakes and rivers of our country Malawi have decreased over time since the 1980s. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development through the Department of Fisheries at National Aquaculture Centre (NAC), Domasi in Zomba is working on an improvement towards a fast growing variety of local tilapia. This tilapia is indigenous in Shire River, scientifically is called Oreochromis shiranus. As a government Centre the objective of scientists at NAC is to promote the fish farming industry through the increase of fish production whereby they are also contributing to the socio – economic development of the country.
This improved fish variety has the potential to produce twice as much production per hectare per annum as compared to the current production which stands at 1.2 tons per hectare per annum. The scientists at NAC noted that the wild varieties are early maturing, hence they use the energy supposed to be for growth in reproduction. The improved variety will be a late maturing, as opposed to the wild variety. This will enable this variety to use much of its energy for growth. This will enable Malawians to access an increased availability of relatively low-cost, high-quality animal protein from the increased yield; at the same time there will be increased employment within the expanded aquaculture sector; and possible foreign exchange earnings in the long term.
Reporting on this on-going work Dr Hastings Zidana, who is also the head of National Aquaculture Centre commented: “Farmers are bound to stand and gain substantial socio-economic benefits from the adoption of this improved variety”. The fish seed of this improved variety can be accessed at National Aquaculture Centre, the Department of Fisheries Office at Domasi Fish Farm in Zomba.