Monday, January 7, 2013
Aquaculture as a Component of Food Security
The world’s supply of fish from natural habitats is being depleted, and the quality of marine ecological systems throughout the world is declining, except in a few places where environmental awareness is more evident and strict enforcement is applied. In order to supply the constantly growing demand, the branch of aquaculture in Israel has been developing at a rapid rate over the past few years.
There are a number of natural causes that can bring about the deterioration of water quality, for instance the growth of algae, invasion of non-endemic species, or changing quantities of sediment. But man-made factors, including unsuccessful developmental strategies, have caused, and still cause, some of the gravest damage to marine ecological systems, hastening their deterioration to the extent that all life in the water is threatened, as it is on land.
The world’s lakes and seas are closely connected to the daily life of the communities that surround them. Many lakes were and still are the only source of livelihood and of communities which depend mainly on fishing. Non-sustainable use of soil, nonexistent development, and the desire for quick profits are some of the reasons for the widespread deterioration. In many cases unplanned development has critically affected the communities living in the area of the water, severely damaging their quality of life, nutrition and food security.
The communities of fishermen, fish breeders and farmers or settlers with access to water sources, and those who want to breed fish, are the main target populations for MASHAV’s, the overseas development arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, development assistance activities in the field of mariculture.
ISRAEL’S RELATIVE ADVANTAGE
MASHAV has been working for many years in the field of agricultural assistance to the developing world, based on the accumulated experience of 70 years of fish breeding in Israel. Israel’s know-how and experience are uniquely valuable and meaningful for developing countries, some of which face a lack of natural resources or arid or semi-arid conditions.
In the field of aquaculture, Israel has achieved impressive results that have made it a leader in several areas that are at the heart of development cooperation:
Fish breeding – diversified technologies for production of different fish species, under changing intensification conditions (ponds, cages and recirculating systems).
Planning and management of a farm – structural principles of fishponds, kinds of facilities and equipment for fish breeding; data collection and registration.
Water quality – water as a medium for life, limnology of fishponds. Importance of water quality for fish breeding; health aspects of fish, dependent on water quality; adaptation of fish breeds to different water qualities (salinity,
Fish and marine animals – morphology and anatomy; fish breeds in aquaculture, biological aspects of different breeds; types of interface according to fish species.
Fish health – causes of disease, diagnosis and treatment, prevention interface.
Feeding and nutrition – principles of fish nutrition; feed production for different fish species (use of raw materials).
Fish propagation – production of fingerlings, naturally or induced, with hormonal control; production of mono-sex population; planning and maintenance of breeding schools.
Feasibility analysis and economical consideration – cost and production aspects for establishment and continuous maintenance.