|This proud fisherman in Mombasa shows his catch. There is a huge fishing potential at the Coast province|
Professor Patrick Sorgeloos of the Artemia Reference Centre, University of Ghent, Belgium while visiting the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) recently singled out brine shrimp called artemia- a nutritious small, soft-bodied crustacean as a major investment.
“With adequate availability of artemia for use in the aquaculture hatcheries, milkfish and crabs can be farmed commercially in the coast region,” said Sorgeloos said when he toured KMFRI’s Artemi project in Gongoni, Malindi.
“There’s a captive market for the two fisheries at the coast”, added the professor, who is renown worldwide for his contribution to research and development of aquaculture.
In an online news release the research institute says artemia and its eggs which can be harvested and stored for several years act as a highly nutritious and a major substitute for the natural plankton diet for fish and shrimp fingerlings in aquaculture facilities worldwide.
“It occurs worldwide in natural highly salty lakes, ponds and lagoons which makes it convenient, largely due to its general availability, nutritional quality, and ease and versatility of use,” the statement says.
KEFRI’s aquaculture program coordinator, Dr. Betty Nyonje also added that artemia can be raised in man-operated solar salt-works since their proper population management will benefit farmers by increasing production and quality of salt.
“Artemia filters out the phytoplanktons, which when in excessive amounts lead to smaller and lower quality salt crystals. Its presence therefore leads to bigger and better quality salt crystals,” Nyonje said.
The institute’s their Malindi artemia project is set to be commercial by producing the shrimp for aquaculture industry locally and internationally.
“Several individuals, groups, and salt companies in the coast are gearing themselves to engage in the production of the Artemia cysts and/or biomass as a business venture to improve their livelihoods,” it said.
The Artemia project is a Belgian Interuniversity Council (VLIR) funded project, being implemented through a tripartite partnership between the KMFRI, Ghent University of Belgium and Can Tho University of Vietnam.
During Sorgeloos’ visit he was accompanied by the Belgian Ambassador to Kenya Bart Ouvry and KMFRI’s Deputy Director in-charge of inland waters research, Dr. Enock Wakwabi among others.
Manuel Odeny ©2013