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Cuba to establish marine aquaculture with Norwegian assistance

Freshwater-based aquaculture already exists in Cuba, but this is the first time that marine aquaculture will be tried out on a large scale. The aim is to create an economically and ecologically sustainable marine aquaculture industry in Cuba.

March 22, 2012

“An ambitious project,” says project coordinator Bjørn Tore Lunestad.

NIFES is one of several institutions involved in the cooperation project, and will assist Cubans establishing a marine aquaculture industry.

Freshwater-based aquaculture already exists in Cuba, but this is the first time that marine aquaculture will be tried out on a large scale. The aim is to create an economically and ecologically sustainable marine aquaculture industry in Cuba.

“Some components will have to be built from the ground, so this will be a long process, but the Cubans already possess good expertise, and everyone involved are working hard to get good results,” says Bjørn Tore Lunestad, who has just returned to Norway from a series of meetings with the Cuban Institute of Marine Research (CIP) in Havana.

Lunestad is a research scientist at NIFES and is coordinator of the development cooperation project.

The first stages of the project will involve finding the most suitable species for aquaculture, obtaining fry and make the appropriate conditions for production, optimising fish feed and identifying suitable seawater sites for farms. An extra challenge in Cuba comes from the tropical storms that regularly assail the island. The project will also evaluate various means of processing and marketing the farmed fish, as well as general competence development, based on scientific meetings and Master and PhD training in fish health, feed development and aquaculture technology.

NIFES will primarily be involved in developing and optimising feeds for fry and farmed fish.

The project will run for four years, and it has been given NOK 17 million in funding by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

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