Sandys School Aquaculture Programme Success

April 30, 2015

Sandys Secondary Middle School has created a facility for the production of tilapia and the training of students in fish farming, Minister Jeanne Atherden said today, adding that “the second achievement is the successful breeding of tilapia broodstock to produce the first tilapia fry for rearing for consumption in the local marketplace.”

Speaking at a press conference this morning [April 30],  Minister of Health, Seniors and Environment Jeanne Atherden said, “Thank you for being here today to mark two more significant milestones along the journey toward establishing commercial aquaculture and fish farming as a dynamic new industry sector in Bermuda.

“The first achievement is that Sandys Secondary Middle School has created a facility for the production of tilapia and the training of students in the technology of fish farming. The second achievement is the successful breeding of tilapia broodstock to produce the first tilapia fry for rearing for consumption in the local marketplace.

“It was approximately a year ago that Sandys became the first-ever recipient of a Bermuda commercial aquaculture permit that was issued by the Department of Environmental Protection. Since then, a close working relationship has evolved between the school, the Ministry of Education and the Department of Environmental Protection, with the latter providing project guidance, technical assistance as well as some financial support.

“Originally, the Sandys Secondary Middle School had planned to purchase tilapia fry to grow in large tanks to an eating size of approximately one pound. However, complex logistics and shipping costs convinced the partners to import special broodstock to enable Bermuda to produce its own tilapia fry for growing out. As is common in countries where aquaculture has been developed as an industry, the Bermuda government has undertaken responsibility for the provision of fry to any new licenced tilapia farmers.


Minister Atherden added, “Currently, there are a number of applications from private sector individuals and groups who have taken steps to become commercial tilapia farmers or, in a few cases, farmers combining fish and vegetables in a related production system known as ‘aquaponics’.

“Special conditions on a tilapia farming license are designed to protect local ponds in the very unlikely event of an escape of one or more fish into brackish water. Tilapia is fed a commercial feed based mostly on grains with a small amount of fish protein. Among several attributes that make tilapia attractive as a commercially farmed product is that fact that Tilapia will thrive on feeds made of vegetables and grains.

“To illustrate the growing global importance of aquaculture in 2013, over 90% of the shrimp and prawns consumed around the world were ‘farmed’ and Bermuda imported over a half million dollars in wholesale value of Tilapia in 2013.

“Potentially, a Bermuda aquaculture sector could replace a significant percentage of imported fresh and frozen tilapia and, in so doing, adding business and job opportunities and new career possibilities.

“The significance of this project that we are celebrating today indicates a future in which Sandys Secondary Middle School and public education in general will have secured a direct role in Bermuda’s economy while enhancing our food security.

“I would like to thank the Department of Environmental Protection who has provided leadership for aquaculture development through technical workshops in 2011 and 2012 which brought some of the world’s leading experts in this field to our shores.

“Thank you also to the private sector donors who helped finance the AquaFarm project, many of whom are represented here today. Without this private sector participation this timely and ambitious undertaking would not have been possible.

“It is exciting that we in Bermuda are able to celebrate this new budding opportunity,” added Minister Atherden.


Cesare Filice, Specialist Science Resource Teacher at Sandys Secondary Middle School, said: “The idea for having a school aquaculture program was founded many years ago. However, it was not physically implemented until a few years ago at which point Sandys Secondary Middle School purchased a Recirculating Aquatic System.

“At the same time, our Board of Governors was also looking ahead in developing the school through S.T.E.M. initiatives. We partnered with Washington Academy in Maine and shortly thereafter began our Aquaculture program as well as the Boat Building activities in the Design and Technology class.

“Later Sandys’ Board reached out to the Department of Environmental Protection and began a collaboration that has benefitted both the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Education. Keeping in line with the school’s mission statement, we began training young people to face the challenges locally and globally.

“Locally, we want to expose children to aquaculture and aquaponics to meet the island’s food needs and potential careers. Globally, farming reduces the pressure on wild caught species as well as reducing Bermuda’s dependence on other countries for fresh food products.

“In the future, the Board of Governors would like to expand this program, moving away from the usual classroom instruction and truly engage our young people. At Sandys Secondary Middle School we would like to promote this, and other, STEM initiatives and see them evolve.

“This program has been linked to the Cambridge curriculum and is in line with many jurisdictions around the world where there is a general push to train children in STEM related fields.

“On behalf of the Sandys Secondary Middle School family, I would like to thank the Ministries of Education and Environment, and our private sector donors for their support, as well as the continued assistance from our Board of Governors. I trust that our relationships will continue to grow.”

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Comments (8)

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  1. Xaxa says:

    Way to go! Sandys!

  2. Stefan Smith says:

    This could have good revenue potential in the future.

  3. Mockingjay says:

    An Island surrounded by the most PRISTINE waters around the world and we cant EXPAND, PROMOTE and ENJOY the BEAUTY of our Local fish.
    Its Embarrassing and Pathetic to know that they sell that trash fish in restaurants at top price and we cant go to at least 5 restaurants and get a genuine Bermuda Fish Sandwich.
    No worst then Texas or Argentina importing BEEF.
    What a JOKE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Strike fund says:

      Completely valid point but fresh local fish is very expensive.

      Most stores have the cheap farmed frozen tilapia so if it can be farmed locally for a similar price then it could create a few jobs. It’s also a great hands on learning experience for the kids.

      Might ease the burden on the local fish stocks too allowing them to recover.

      • Mockingjay says:

        Ahh, can you tell me what is not EXSPENSIVE on this Island.
        You couldn’t give me that trash if you paid me, ill go down de rocks and catch a couple of s!@# bibblers first.

        • Strike fund says:

          The best things this island has to offer are free. It is absolutely stunning everywhere you look.
          When you go fishing off de rocks be sure to take it all in and enjoy it.

  4. Young Bermudian says:

    The joke is on us Mockingjay. We over fished the platform so much that we have still yet to see the stock levels return. That’s why marine legislation like the fish pot ban and others are in place. Wake up to the new reality that we need to figure out some ways to secure food on this island and this is a great and viable step. Way to go Sandys.