Production at fish farms to grow

EPALELA Annual harvesting of fish is now a tradition in the aquaculture subsector.

17 December 2018 | Fishing

Bernard Esau; Minister of fisheries: “We have one upcoming commercial fish farm in the Omusati region, with an estimated production of 100 tons.”

The harvesting, processing and selling of fish at the Epalela fish farm in the Omusati region demonstrates that fish farming in Namibia is possible and practical, and can be done in an economically viable way, says minister of fisheries and marine resources (MFMR) Bernard Esau.

“Seeing is believing, and I am sure what we witnessed is enough to convince all of us that we can replicate this process in our farms across Namibia. Today’s harvesting event is one of the influential events on the Namibian fisheries calendar in terms of fish consumption promotion, and is an integration of marine fish and freshwater fish promotion.”

During the harvesting of fish at Epalela fish farm recently Esau said that the MFMR received approval to use all male hormones for treatment of fry in all male production of tilapia, a mainly freshwater fish inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes.

“Production at Epalela fish farm will therefore go up, because mono-sex fish grow faster than mixed-sex fish. In addition, fish harvesting time will be shortened and cost of production reduced considerably.”

The minister also acknowledged and expressed appreciation for the involvement of farmers in the development of fish farming in the region, and urged other investors to invest in the sector in order to eradicate poverty and strengthen food security.

Epalela fish farm has 12 ponds with annual production of 48 tons. The cumulative harvesting of this year is 14 tons (with 7 tons harvested for this event), and estimates are 30 tons by the end of this financial year, on 31 March 2019.

Esau accredited the current good production of the fish farm to the assistance of National Fishing Cooperation of Namibia (Fishcor) which ensured a constant feed supply for the past two years.

“In addition to that, Fishcor also assisted Epalela in setting up bird nets to its pond with the aim to prevent predation which had been hampering production for the past years. I therefore would like to appreciate their gesture and call other industry to emulate their good gesture in assisting aquaculture development in the region.”

The minster said the ministry is also dealing with extension services with the aim to promote fish farming within the local communities in the region.

“During the financial year 2017/2018, 50 active small scale fish farmers in the Northwest Region and 22 of these farmers from Omusati region practiced fish farming. It is also worth noting that we have one upcoming commercial fish farm in the Omusati region, with an estimated production of 100 tons.”

Epalela is the biggest government research demonstration freshwater production fish farm in the country. The farm was established with the purpose of demonstrating by means of research production trials, improvements in economic efficiency and viability of freshwater fish farming.

Namibia has a sub-tropical climate resulting in four separate seasons. This is hampering year-round freshwater aquaculture production as the country has only six months with optimum temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius and over.

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