Despite the fact that the Egyptian aquaculture continued to grow impressively over the last decade to reach almost 1.4 million tons in 2016, Egypt is annually importing more than three hundred thousand tons of fish to meet consumer demand (GAFRD). The high demand for fish and other limitations the sector faces on the availability of water and its quality and competition for land use and increasing food safety concerns creates an urgent need to intensify production in existing production areas to meet the growing demand.
In Pond Raceway System (IPRS) technology addresses these constraints by allowing greater management control that yields higher fish production at lower per-unit cost through improved fish survival and feed conversion. The zero water exchange greatly enhances water use efficiency and maximizes water productivity. It also captures nutrients for use as a crop fertilizer and requires minimal use of drugs and chemicals to ensure food safety and enable biosecurity to minimize opportunity of disease outbreak.
IPRS technology was selected for testing in Egypt as a means to address the increasing demand for aquaculture products in the face of mounting economic and environmental constraints to the growth of Egyptian aquaculture production.
Results of the initial system test in 2017 in Egypt indicated that the system is promising, with the main constraint being the initial investment cost. This high initial investment cost lead to the development of a low cost IPRS system at less than 50 percent of the cost for the conventional concrete system. Both systems were stocked with different size tilapia of an improved strain in the 2018 season to compare and evaluate the performance of both systems against each other.
USSEC and the United Soybean Board (USB) organized a two-day aqua seminar and field day event, “IPRS construction, Operation and Management,” held at WorldFish Abbassa February 19 and 20, attended by 45 participants representing all aqua sector stakeholders (fish farmers, feed manufacturers, researchers, and decision makers). The objective of the seminar was to introduce and promote the IPRS system as a means of increasing fish production at no extra use of water to about three folds of normal common production rates in open pond systems.
Seminar participants spent two days at WorldFish Abbassa listening to presentations in the auditorium and experiencing the actual units in operation right in the field. Deliberations over these two days created a growing awareness and interest among participants, some of whom expressed their interest in adopting IPRS technology on their farms and looked to get support and guidance from USSEC and others such as WorldFish.
- Follow up with the participants of the IPRS seminar held in February, communicate with farmers who are interested in adopting the IPRS system on their farms, and visit farmers who are seriously considering the system.
- Continue interactions with farmers, local authorities, and other stakeholders promoting USSEC’s efforts toward the development of Egypt’s aquaculture sector.