THE STATUS OF AQUACULTURE IN BELIZE — 2002

Myvett, G. and Quintana, R. (2002) THE STATUS OF AQUACULTURE IN BELIZE — 2002. Technical Report.

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    Abstract

    Aquaculture is expanding in volume and value more rapidly than capture fishery production, terrestrial livestock production and other agro-production activities. In this regard, the contributions of aquaculture to the global supply of fin-fish, crustaceans and molluscs, have increased from 3.9 percent of total fishery production by weight in 1970, to 29 percent in 2001. In 2001, global aquaculture production was 48.2 million MT, with an estimated value of US $60.9 billion. In general, the growth of the industry over the past ten(10) years has been sustained at a rate of approximately ten percent (10%) per annum. In the case of shrimp farming, which is currently the primary focus of the national aquaculture industry, the production from exporting countries were absorbed by the three(3) main market destinations of: the United States, Japan and the European Union. The growth of the aquaculture industry in Belize has been even more impressive than the global situation, with annual increases in the volume of farmed shrimp production over the last ten(10) years being approximately 160%. In Belize, the aquaculture industry is primarily based on the production of the Pacific White Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei). Since the early stages of shrimp farming in Belize, the sector has increased export production and revenues from 189 thousand pounds and Bz $1.8 million respectively in 1990- to 1.17 million pounds and Bz $10.4 million respectively in 1995. Since 1995, export production and revenues have expanded to 6.2 million pounds of tails and Bz $51.7 million respectively in 2002. The significant increases in foreign exchange earnings derived from shrimp farming has elevated the Fisheries Sector from the fifth position between 1995 and 1999, to the third position in 2001 and 2002. Conservative estimates for the 2003 production year have been place at 20 million pounds of processed shrimp tails – this is expected to generate over Bz $120 million. Shrimp farming has also made significant contributions to the development of Belize in relation to employment and income generation, especially in rural communities. In relation to employment, there were 810 full-time permanent employees, and 594 temporary or seasonal workers. In regards to the area devoted for shrimp farming in 2002, there were 6,788 acres under production. This represented a 12% increase in the overall area under the tenureship of shrimp farmers in 2002 relative to 2001. Aquaculture, like most other agro-production or industrial activities, does have impacts on the environment. The primary ecological impacts in Belize would most likely relate to nutrient enrichment, increased BOD and sediment loads – although it is noteworthy to mention that these have not been scientifically ascertained. There are also social concerns in regards to aquaculture development. These include a lack of participation of small-, and medium scale operators in the production process, as well as a lack of the equitable distribution of land. Other concerns relates to the continued employment of foreign parties in the face of an increasing pool of Belizeans that have been trained to the Baccalaureate and Masters Degree levels, in the various sub-disciplines of aquaculture. Other challenges include huge inventories of farmed shrimps at the three primary destinations for exported shrimps, and consequently low commodity prices. The measures put in place to attend the various challenges of aquaculture in Belize relates to the genesis and implementation of legislation, as well as policy. The lead public sector agency that has been charged with the mandate for the development of the sector has been the Fisheries Department. Although there is as yet no aquaculture-specific legislation, the Fisheries Act does make provisions for the licensing and monitoring of shrimp farming and other aquaculture operations. The most significant policy response to date has been in relation to a ‘policy paper’ generated by the Aquaculture and Inland Fisheries Unit of the Fisheries Department in late 2002, and CZMA/Fisheries Department-led initiative in which a consultant was recruited in mid-2002 to develop a National Aquaculture Policy. In relation to the latter, the final document is expected to be concluded some time in the third or fourth quarter of 2003. The policy responses have dealt with: disease management, aquatic pollution, the movement of exotic species, education and training, diversification of the shrimp farming industry, and the integration of small-, and medium-scale producers in shrimp farming, tilapia farming and other aspects of aquaculture.

    Item Type: Technical Reports (Technical Report)
    Related URLs:
      Keywords: aquaculture, impacts, shrimps,
      Subjects: (A) Biodiversity > (AC) Fish > (ACA) Freshwater
      (A) Biodiversity > (AF) Invertebrates > (AFA) Freshwater
      (F) People and the Environment > (FB) Resource Use
      (I) Socio-Economic Information > (IB) Economic Valuation
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3A) Government Departments
      Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2010 08:31
      Last Modified: 20 Jan 2011 14:51
      URI: http://eprints.uberibz.org/id/eprint/32

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