Local Feed Production for Tilapia by keara


									                                                                                             PROJECT REPORT h FARMER/RANCHER h SARE

                            Final Results
                                                      Local Feed Production for Tilapia


                                      Location:       OBJECTIVES
                       Rota, Commonwealth of the      The primary objective of this SARE-funded experiment is to explore whether
                        Northern Marianas Islands
                                                      alternative and locally available feeds can be cost-effectively used to raise
                             Funding Period:          tilapia.
                        January 1998 to May 2002
                                 Grant Award:         Feed costs comprise the biggest expense in raising tilapia, constraining
                                                      expansion of tilapia farming. At the same time, there is a small but expanding
                       Project Coordinator:           market for this food fish as evidenced by the amount of frozen tilapia being
                                Nicolas Songsong      imported.
                                    P.O. Box 496
                                                      To test whether locally grown feeds could be used to rear these food fish, 1,000
                           Rota, MP 96951-04496
                                  (670) 532-3370      red tilapia fries imported from a hatchery in Guam were divided equally
                                                      between two fish tanks.
                         Technical Advisor:
                       Mark Brotman, followed by      One group was fed commercially available floating tilapia feed. The second was
                              Anthony Benavente
                                                      fed only the ground leaf material of two locally grown crops, kang kung and
                       Northern Marianas College
                                 CREES Program        sweet potato. Both have high protein and both are abundant on the islands.
                           Territorial Aquaculture
                                         Specialist   Both types of feed were measured until the 10-week stage of the project.
                                 P.O. Box 501250
                        NMC-CREES Saipan, MP
                                            96950     SPECIFIC RESULTS
                        (670) 234-9034 Ext. 1708
                                                      Several complications arose during the project that precluded an accurate
                                                      comparison of the two feeds. Among these were an irregularity of the water
                                 Cooperators:         supply between the two tanks, curtailing of the water supply during an attempted
                                      Simon Ellis     second test and a change in technical advisors in the early stages of the project.
                             Regional Aquaculture
                                                      At the 10-week stage, because the tilapia performed poorly on the local feeds,
                         Jim Currie, Coordinator      the project team decided to switch to commercial feeds to salvage the fish for
                       Northern Marianas College      market. The poor growth may have resulted from degraded water quality or
                           Cooperative Extension      from the locally grown feed.

                         At six months, the fish were harvested. Those reared on the commercial feed weighed an average of ½ pound.
                         The fished reared on the local feed weighed a maximum of 3 ounces.

                         While the project was terminated at harvest, coordinator Nicolas Songsong says he hopes to replicate the
                         project with improved monitoring and the assistance of a new technical advisor who is familiar with animal
                         nutrition and feed processing.

                         “I will do this project with their help since I am committed to tilapia farming and, as chairman of the Rota
                         Agriculture Advisory Council, I feel a commitment to helping all potential tilapia farmers of the island,” says

                         POTENTIAL BENEFITS
                         Songsong says that while the potential benefits of such a project may seem small by mainland United States
                         standards, the impact on personal and family income could be considerable if locally produced feeds could be
                         found to replace commercial tilapia feed, which is estimated at 75% of the cost of tilapia production.
                         However, he says, as the project failed to yield results, estimates of measurable benefits are unavailable.

                                                                                                             2002 i FW98-003 i 1
As the project has yet to be completed, no other farmers have opted to adopt local feeds for tilapia. One
outcome, however, has been that since this project began three other farmers have constructed fish tanks to
produce tilapia, and all three visited the project site to discuss tilapia production.

For such a project, Songsong advises close consultation with experts in food processing and animal nutrition,
neither of which was available on the island at the time of the project. The Northern Marianas College staff
now have the skills to help producers like Songsong produce a balanced feed in a form the fish would accept.
Indeed, he says a future study may incorporate a supplement with higher protein, like processed fish waste
from the local marine fishery.

The project site has been open to visits by local farmers, several of whom stopped by to view the operation
and discuss tilapia. In addition, the extension staff of Northern Marianas College and the Department of
Lands and Natural resources have used Songsong’s project to promote fish farming in the region. In addition,
Simon Ellis, secretary of Pacific Community Regional Aquaculture, visited the project three times.

Songsong was the only producer directly involved in this project.

                                                                                 2002 i FW98-003i 2

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