Turnkey Fish Rearing System

Turn-key Fish Rearing Systems

A model for fish production based on the needs expressed by Haitians for a sustainable, replicable and profitable enterprise.



It is estimated that 51 percent of the food consumed in Haiti is imported, including 80 percent of all rice eaten. A recent article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/20/with-cheap-food-imports-h_n_507228.html in the Huffington Post sums up the situation: “Decades of inexpensive imports – especially rice from the U.S. – punctuated with abundant aid in various crises have destroyed local agriculture and left impoverished countries such as Haiti unable to feed themselves.” (2010) The lack of investment in agriculture in Haiti in favor of food handouts from aid organizations have left Haiti largely dependent on foreign imports. Even so, chronic malnutrition affects 24 to 40 percent of children under five, 59 percent of women and children between the ages of 6 months to five years suffer from diseases related to micro-nutrient deficiencies, and food insecurity is at an all time high after the devastating earthquake of 2010, according to the UN World Food Programme (Haiti: 10 Hunger Facts, 2010)

Based on more than ten years of formal and informal conversations with Haitian farmers we have determined that there is a dire need in Haiti to introduce a high yielding, sustainable, protein-rich food production system, whereby people can meet the nutritional needs of their families and communities, as well as generate revenue to reinvest in the next food cycle and other priorities (such as education, healthcare, transportation etc.) meeting w:fisherman


Solution-A “turn-key” fish rearing system

The Sustainable Aquaculture Initiative (SAI) is working to design and test a system that fits within the context of where it is needed, as described by the people who need it.  The idea to develop a “Turn-key” family sized fish rearing system arose as a result of thousands hours of informal conversations with Haitians as well as focus groups discussing impediments to and opportunities for fish farming in Haiti.  By listening to their needs and building upon their parameters, we believe that the turnkey system will be a crucial tool for Haitians to improve their livelihood.


For a detailed explanation of design criteria and methods, click here.

Our proposed solution is to develop a proven “turn-key” fish production system capable of supplying quality fish on a scale that fits within a typical property “foot print”. Ownership and close proximity to living quarters is imperative. The system described should:

  • be capable of producing fish using minimal human resources and 100% locally available and underutilized resources.
  • be deployed wherever needed and replicated using locally available resources on a manageable scale
  • be immune to constraints that have caused previous fish farming attempts to fail (lack of understanding of the social complexity of Haiti and inherent infrastructure problems)
  • eventually be built, operated and financed entirely by Haitians

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The challenge is to adapt the technology to Haiti using methods that are culturally congruent, with an outcome that meets Haitians’ expressed, specific needs.  Furthermore, micro-lending organizations in Haiti are eager to support aquaculture. The “turn-key” system is designed to be purchased via a micro-loan, and great efforts are being made to minimize risk and maximize returns to both the investor and the recipient. Extensive market research shows the demand and stable market price for fish can provide a secure return on money invested.

The SAI prides itself on a record of longevity and commitment to Haitian capacity building since 2000. We operate on a small scale, investing in the personal contact with farmers and communities to address their needs and priorities directly, as expressed by them. Haiti is a complex and wonderful country, the people are it’s most valuable asset and it is our hope to provide them with training, tools and technology that are needed to improve livelihoods in a permanent, sustainable way.