July 4, 2022
Potential of Sierra Leone's fish farming sector highlighted in report
Fish farming in Sierra Leone has the potential to provide its population with a sustainable source of protein, improve livelihoods and generate export earnings, according to a new overview study of the sector.
Released on June 28, the report, "Aquaculture in Sierra Leone", is based on a pre-feasibility study commissioned by Invest Salone, the UK government-funded private sector development initiative.
Aquaculture is reported to be the fastest growing food-producing sector globally. It now accounts for 50% of the world's fish consumption, and while Asia will continue to dominate production, predictions suggest that the greatest growth will come from Africa. This offers opportunities for Sierra Leone, where the sector is in its infancy, but where the natural resources – water and land – needed to sustain the industry are readily available.
Previous attempts to develop aquaculture in Sierra Leone have largely focused on building public sector infrastructure to support small producers. The "Aquaculture in Sierra Leone" study recommends a new approach.
"Pioneer investment is needed to overcome the existing challenges for inputs, staffing and energy – and establish a fully commercial tilapia aquaculture venture. This would help to demonstrate viability and would encourage others to invest," the report states.
Of the various fish species, the analysis indicates that tilapia and/or catfish are the best choices. Tilapia remains the second largest globally produced fish; however, demand for African catfish is growing rapidly, particularly in Africa.
"The increasing demand for fish both locally and internationally, favourable conditions for fish farming and the ready availability of land, water and labour mean that fish farming in Sierra Leone offers real opportunities for investors who can see past the challenges," noted Invest Salone consultant Mark Thomas in a press release.
- The Fish Site