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Apr 16, 2002

Govt. encourages farming of local fish

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They are highly sought by Belize’s inland fishermen, but are increasingly difficult to find in the nation’s rivers, creeks and lagoons. But today we found out that the shortage may not last much longer.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Today, the Ministry of Fisheries embarked on an initiative for the development of aquaculture in Belize. The Biscayne Fish Farm will be used to produce the four most popular fresh water fish species that are found in the country. The Baysnook, Crana, Mus Mus and Tuba are over fished, especially during the dry season.

Mauro Gongora, Manager, Biscayne Farm Hatchery

“Freshwater fishing in Belize, for the past few years has increased tremendously. A number of people especially from the rural areas, have been fishing even more in the river and lagoons, especially those communities which are located along the continental water bodies. One very good example of over-fishing is in for example the Black Creek area. Every weekend, we have truckfuls of people coming in with nets, with fishing lines, doing sometimes illegal fishing.”

The facility will not only be used to help restock those rivers that have been depleted of the marine life, but the compound will also assist anyone interested in fish farming by providing them with information and the opportunity to purchase juvenile fish to start their own operation.

George Myvett, Co-ordinator, Aquaculture

“We are hopeful that as farmers look for alternate income generating activities, certainly in the north in the sugar cane producing belt, as well as in the south where there may be a need to diversify citrus and banana production, as well as in the west.”

Although the facility was just inaugurated, the project actually started on a smaller scale two years ago when the Prison Department was provided with stocks from the pond. Farmers as well were supplied with fish at a subsidised price. Today there are sixteen ponds in operation at the facility. Co-ordinator of Aquaculture in the Fisheries Department, George Myvett, believes fish farming will progress just as shrimp farming has developed into a fifty million dollar industry since it started twenty years ago in Belize.

George Myvett

“Globally we have found that fish farming has been expanding at a rate of about ten percent a year. This is much greater than crop agriculture, which expands at a rate of about three percent a year, which is even more impressive than the traditional fishing, which grows at an average rate of one point five percent per year. So definitely we believe that fish farming is one of those agro-production activities that does hold tremendous promise for Belize.”

Presently steps are being taken to develop the facility. One measure is to ensure that there is always an adequate supply of water for the ponds. Presently the only source of water is a rainwater pond. During the dry season, that supply is threatened.

George Myvett

“This water body has been known to dry up completely. One of the activities we are looking at right now is to recruit the services of the Rural Development Department to assist us with sinking a well to source ground water.”

The farm will not only serve farmers but will also be used as a training and research centre for students, particularly from the University of Belize. Jacqueline Woods reporting for News 5.

The hybrid tilapia is also being produced at Biscayne farm.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Govt. encourages farming of local fish”

  1. Darren Shield says:

    I am currently looking into small scale aquaculture of crana and tuba however I cannot find a local farmer or online source from which to stock. Feel free to email me about any information or contacts that I could use to start my own practice.

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