Turnkey Fish Rearing System

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


Based on more than ten years of formal and informal conversations with Haitian farmers we identified 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:fishermanSolution-A “turn-key” fish rearing system

The Sustainable Aquaculture Initiative (SAI) is working to design and test a system that fits within the constraints described by the people who need it.  The idea to develop a family scale “turn-key” fish rearing system arose as a result of hours of informal conversations and focus groups with Haitians discussing impediments to and opportunities for local fish farming.


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

Our proposed “turn-key” fish production system must be capable of supplying quality fish on a scale that fits within a typical small holder 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 replicable using locally available resources on a manageable scale
  • be immune to bottlenecks that have caused previous fish farming attempts to fail (lack of understanding of the social complexity of Haiti and inherent infrastructure problems)
  • be able to be built, operated, and financed entirely by Haitians

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Implications of this Research

The greatest challenge is to adapt the technology to Haiti using methods that are culturally congruent, with an outcome that meets the specific needs expressed by our Haitian partners.  Furthermore, micro-finance organizations in Haiti have expressed an eagerness to support aquaculture, as market research indicates that both the price and demand for fish are stable enough to provide relatively secure returns on investment. The “turn-key” system has therefore been designed to be purchased via a micro-loan, with technical emphasis placed on minimizing risks and maximize returns to both the “farmer” and suppliers or capital.

The SAI prides itself on a record of longevity and commitment to capacity building in Haiti since 2000. We operate on a small scale, investing in the personal contact with farmers and communities to address the needs and priorities they express to us directly. 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.

Get Involved

“Turn-key” system development is funded primarily through private donations and is being executed with the help of our partners at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. For more information on how you can help further our mission by supporting our research please contact us or give directly.