The Sustainable Aquaculture Initiative’s priorities include effective knowledge sharing and efficient technology transfer as it pertains to (small-scale) fish production systems that provide high-yield protein to an average family as well as a potential income generating activity through fish sales. The SAI strives to help people in developing countries grow their own food and become less dependent on expensive foreign imports and international aid over time. We help people improve and secure livelihoods and provide food security for their families and communities.
One of the most important aspects of our approach to address the issue of malnutrition is to help identify valuable (unrealized) botanical species that can be used to formulate feeds that can be used to increase the yield of existing livestock production; our focus has been on fish diets but much of the research can be applied to poultry and goats. During the course of our work in Haiti we have identified a variety of underutilized plant material, analyzed this material to assess its nutritional components and formulated feeds that have been tested in live fish trials to determine the fishes’ ability to convert these plant based diets into high quality animal protein.
Our research yields recipes that compete favorably with high quality imported feeds. According to published reports, access to animal feed is the biggest impediment to production of high quality protein, particularly in resource limited countries. We focus considerable effort to evaluate alternative feeds that can be used to increase yields of fish/poultry using simple, easily obtainable agricultural by-products. The results have been life changing. Fish production can be increased significantly via simple submerged compost bins placed in ponds and installing submerged substrate for periphyton (twofold production increase over traditional “green water” methods). The paper resulting from this research is one of the most requested “how to” publications offered by various NGOs. Great care has been exercised to develop production enhancing techniques that can be utilized in a variety of fish production systems depending on the resources (human and otherwise) available.
REAL PEOPLE, REAL IMPACT
The SAI’s greatest impact is made through application of its scientific and aquaculture skills and resources to develop and share effective means for others to replicate. The Sustainable Aquaculture Initiative works directly with aid organizations that wish to include aquaculture in their projects by offering consultation, expert advice and hands-on training based on over 45 years in the field and 10+ years in Haiti. We train and mentor individual farmers to build small scale, low-resource high-output fish ponds with in-country training and ongoing mentoring. Through local and remote learning centers and easily accessible training material we aim to reach the greatest number of clients and create a ripple effect. The SAI helps to build capacity through knowledge and technology sharing, which can then be perpetuated, and eventually eliminate further dependency on intentional aid money and foreign imports.