Aquaculture Workshop Next Week

November 24, 2011

The Department of Environmental Protection, under the Ministry of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy, will host an Aquaculture Workshop next week to provide Bermudians with an opportunity to consider commercial aquaculture as a business, an investment or a career choice.

The aim of the workshop, which takes place on December 1, is to present and discuss information on the technical and financial aspects of setting up and operating a viable and profitable aquaculture business locally.

Aquaculture is the farming of freshwater, brackish water or marine organisms including fish, shellfish and algae. Culture techniques are also applied to producing marine organisms such as corals or sponges as a source of raw material for the pharmaceutical industry.

Most commonly used for food production, it represents the world’s fastest growing food sector, and this growth is driven by a growing middle class in countries such as Brazil, China, India, South Africa, as well as by the increased popularity of seafood worldwide.

Featured presenter and workshop leader, Dr. Jesse Chappell, is an experienced aquaculture extension specialist from Auburn University in Alabama who works mainly in the US but also internationally. In his professional role, he is responsible for helping fish and shellfish farmers growing a variety of finfish and shellfish species to be successful in their business ventures.

His presentations will fill the two morning sessions and include an introduction to and overview of the various aquaculture production systems in use, a walk through the various phases in the production cycle, and the post harvest aspects including processing and marketing. His presentation will also go into some detail on the species that he would consider best suited to local conditions.

He will also consider managing risk factors – including environmental factors – and market opportunities, and the thinking that would go into developing a business concept that takes advantage of technology, Bermuda’s location, local and international markets and competitive advantages.

The workshop will continue with presentations on the financial aspects of setting up a local aquaculture business including a look at sources of capital, and some of the opportunities and challenges associated with these. A representative of the Bermuda Stock Exchange will give an overview of the public capital option.

A presentation on the local regulatory framework will lead into a panel discussion on how Bermuda entrepreneurs can move forward with a view to establishing commercial aquaculture businesses in Bermuda, the role of Government in supporting commercial aquaculture and opportunities for employment.

This workshop will provide valuable information relevant to a range of interests – from those wanting to pursue aquaculture as an occupation or career, to entrepreneurs interested in starting their own business and prospective investors. Therefore, anyone with a genuine interest in any aspect of aquaculture is encouraged to attend this workshop.

Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Marc Bean explained that there are a number of benefits that Bermuda stands to gain from pursuing aquaculture.

Minister Bean said: “First, the emergence of a new aquaculture industry will provide new business, employment, and investment opportunities for Bermudians.

“Second, local production of farmed fish will contribute to our food security. Presently, 75% of the seafood consumed in Bermuda is imported and, while there are a number of reasons that make it unlikely that Bermuda could be entirely self-sufficient, any aquaculture operation would serve to reduce our dependence on imported seafood.

“And, finally, we can take advantage of Bermuda’s location, especially our proximity to markets on the US east coast and gateways cities in positioning us to deliver a fresh product daily into these markets. You could literally harvest fish in the morning and have it in a restaurant for lunch or dinner that same day.

“We also have a daily connection into Europe and let’s not forget the Bermuda brand. The development of an export market for Bermuda products would bring valuable foreign exchange into Bermuda at a time when this is critical for our economy.”

Director of the Department of Environmental Protection Dr. Frederick Ming will be the facilitator for the event.

Dr. Ming said: “One of the functions of this workshop is to consider the pros and cons of the different kinds of aquaculture under local conditions. There are a number of factors that determine which species of fish or shellfish could be cultured here.

“Some of this is market driven of course, but our moderate climate and good water quality are favourable for good growth rates and energy efficiency both of which are critical. There are also environmental considerations, as some species or methods of aquaculture have the potential to negatively impact our local environment, and both government and NGO’s are concerned about protecting the local marine environment.

“But with some of the more recent developments in the technology of fish production, there is reason to believe that we can find a sustainable path.”

Dr. Ming added: “The workshop seeks to attract persons who are curious about the kinds of opportunities that aquaculture offers, whether they are looking at it from a business angle, as an investment, or a more technical or job related perspective.”

The workshop will begin at 9:30am and a light lunch will be on sale for those in attendance. There is no cost for registration. Attendees should bring with them any writing materials they deem necessary for note-taking as stationary will not be supplied.

Anyone wishing to attend this workshop should contact Juliet Spencer at the Department of Environmental Protection on 236-4201 or 239-2317. For further information call the Department of Environmental Protection on 236-4201, or 293-5600 ext 2222 or 2225.

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Category: All, Environment

Comments (3)

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  1. blackbeard says:

    i would have liked to attend the workshop, but unfortuanately i will be off the island. I hope someone records it and uploads it to youtube. I have looking into it for household consumption as a method of saving money.

  2. OMG says:

    Not to put water on the idea put has any thought been put on where would this be done and with local labour so high imported fish may still be cheaper.
    Local fishermen cannot sell what they catch now!! 15,000lbs of wahoo to be frozen this year.
    Hope this is not another “friends and family plan” idea???

  3. Sooner Than Thought says:

    This is excellent, I thought this practice was going to take longer for Bermuda to adopt but excellent. Even though this is under PLP’s watch still not voting for them. but good job :-)