The Water Education Istitution of Holland and UNESCO (Unesco – IHE in Spanish) are cooperating with the Cuban aquaculture industry, in the execution of a claria (catfish) raising project, using a locally produced feed, which has just been satisfactorily evaluated on the basis of fish sizes in excess of 500 grams.

The Water Education Istitution of Holland and UNESCO (Unesco – IHE in Spanish) are cooperating with the Cuban aquaculture industry, in the execution of a claria (catfish) raising project, using a locally produced feed, which has just been satisfactorily evaluated on the basis of fish sizes in excess of 500 grams.Tests undertaken at the start of 2016 in the “El Dique” research training and production center, belonging to the Havana Aquaculture Technology Development Company, indicate that it is possible to replace traditionally used and highly expensive imported ground-fish feed, paid for in hard currency.

When consulted by the Havana Reporter, Héctor García and Damir Brdjanovic of Unesco-IHE and responsible for the Dutch side’s participation in the project, both agreed that in addition to the replacement of bought imports, there were the added advantages of the saving of water and other resources, cleaner production processes and staff training levels.

The program, which includes new equipment and involves the transfer of technology, is financed by 2,000,000 dollars, 25% of which is contributed by the Dutch institute, with the remainder coming from the European Union.

According to Nelson Pérez, the National Director of Aquaculture, the project’s feasibility was established on the basis of just three claria fattening trials.

This plan is as much a response to the need to improve fish feed from locally sourced nutrients than it is to extend the scope of the program to the processed feed industry.

In the opinion of Theodor Friedrich, the United Nation’s Food and Agricultue Organization’s representative (FAO) in Cuba, who witnessed the trials, the program is of great importance to the country, because it favors a protein source that can be sustainably developed.

He added that it also contributes to the population’s food security and reduces imports of feed produced abroad, which bear a significant financial burden.

Following these successful trials, the next step in the joint program is to expand the project and to evaluate the Cuban aquaculture system on an industrial scale.

Cuba produces, by intensive methods, more than 6,000 tons of claria annually. This volume of the species – worth in excess of 5,000 dollars per ton on the international market – is sold to the public industry and to the tourism industry.

In 2015, fresh water fish production in Cuba surpassed 27,000 tons – the highest yield by this industry since the early 1980’s – and the bulk of this amount, some 20,000 tons, consisted of silver carp and tench.

Both fresh and salt water (mariculture) Cuban aquaculture are included on the list of activities designated for foreign investment, given that the nation does not have the vast capital required for its development.

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