Category Archives: Economics

“Production and economic assessment of giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera cultivation for abalone feed in the south of Chile” (Correa et al 2016)

Citation: Correa, T., Gutierrez, A., Flores, R., Buschmann, A., Cornejo, P., and Bucarey, C. (2016). “Production and economic assessment of giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera cultivation for abalone feed in the south of Chile“. Aquaculture Research, 47, pp. 698-707. DOI: 10.1111/are.12529

Summary By: Alexandra Pounds

Image Credit: Flickr

  • Big Picture: Farmed kelp for abalone feed in Chile has higher levels of protein. With 30 hectares of production at $78/tonne, the farm would be profitable and return investment within the first year.
  • Abalone farmers in Chile feed kelp to their stock, because other studies have show that it is a better food source for abalone growth. Unfortunately, wild kelp is only available seasonally. Kelp farming is a potential solution to the demand for kelp and prevent overharvesting wild kelp populations. This paper examines whether or not kelp farming in Chile is profitable.
  • Methods:
    • The researchers designed and installed a kelp farm off the coast of southern Chile. They started with 2.4 hectares for 2 years to establish whether the crop would survive the winter season. Afterwards, it was increased to 4 hectares.
    • The researchers used 2 trial units (one in summer, one in winter) to extrapolate annual expenses and yields for a bigger farm.
    • The farm relied on manual labor for picking and planting crop.
  • Results:
    • If the market price for kelp is $78/tonne, a return on investment can be made in the first year by harvesting 30 hectares. The farm would be profitable within one year.
    • Best profitability would be at 50 hectares per year.
    • Protein content of harvested kelp was 9%, which was significantly higher than wild kelp in the area.
    • The summer crop produced significantly greater biomass than the winter crop. Both crops together could produce about 41kg per meter of rope per year.
    • Production costs for 2 harvests (one year), of 10 hectares was $109,396.
      • Fixed costs = 13%
      • Variable costs = 87%
  • Implications
    • Kelp farming in southern Chile could be a profitable way to feed farmed abalone.
    • Placing kelp farms around Chilean salmon farms could increase yield due to higher nitrogen levels in the water. This would have the additional benefit of reducing environmental impacts of the salmon farms.
    • Current kelp prices are not high enough to support farms that produce less than 30 hectares.
Advertisements

“Strengthening the contribution of aquaculture to food and nutrition security: The potential of a vitamin A-rich, small fish in Bangladesh” (Fiedler et al 2016)

Citation: Fiedler, J., Lividini, K., Drummond, E., and Thilsted, S. (2016). “Strengthening the contribution of aquaculture to food and nutrition security: The potential of a vitamin A-rich, small fish in Bangladesh” Aquaculture, 452, pp. 291-303. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2015.11.004

Summary By: Alexandra Pounds

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Big Picture: The Mola Production Programme is the most cost-efficient way to address vitamin A deficiencies in Bangladesh.
  • Many small-scale farmers in Bangladesh culture fish, for both commercial and sustenance. Polyculture of rice and fish is an important part of food security in Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshis have small ponds available for aquaculture.
  • It is estimated that 60% of Bangladeshis are vit A deficient, despite the oil and wheat flour fortification programmes.
  • Mola carplet contains more vit A than other commonly eaten fish species in Bangladesh. Producing more mola carplet could help solve the vit a deficiency. The Mola Production Programme is currently behind these efforts. The aim of this paper was to do a cost-benefit analysis of increasing mola carplet production in Bangladesh to help solve the chronic vit A deficiency.
  • Methods:
    • Used national health statistics to establish the usual vit A intake, prevalence of deficiency, and years lost to deficiency-caused disability.
    • They then added how much vit A the Mola Production Programme would provide over the next 11 years to estimate future levels of vit A intake, prevelance of deficiency, and years lost to deficiency-caused disability. They assumed that the Mola Production Programme would have a 30% adoption rate
    • The change in these numbers was compared to the total cost of the Mola Production Programme.
    • They used two different scenarios for comparison.
  • Results:
    • Over 11 years the program would cost $23 million and
      • raise vit A levels by 7 micrograms
      • lower prevelance of deficiency by 1.1%
      • This equates to 3000 lives saved, and prevent 100,000 years lost to deficiency-caused disability.
  • Implications:
    • If continued for 20 years, the Mola Production Programme would have lower costs and greater health benefits than the Vitamin A wheat flour fortification programme.
    • Other nutritional components can be improved through the programme indirectly, via increased income with mola production.

“Increasing fish farm profitability through aquaculture best management practice training in Egypt” (Dickson et al 2016)

Citation: Dickson, M., Nasr-Allah, A., Kenawy, D., and Kruijssen, F. “Increasing fish farm profitability through aquaculture best management practice training in Egypt”. Aquaculture, 465, pp. 172-178. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2016.09.015

Summary by: Alexandra Pounds

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  • Big Picture: Fish farms in Egypt that adopt BMP are more profitable than those that don’t. Having BMP can increase the farm’s profitability, mostly due to better feed management practices.
  • Egyptian aquaculture is growing, but farmers had little training or education resources. Best Management Practices (BMP) training programmes were introduced to help. This survey examined whether or not implementing the BMP had resulted in greater profits and productivity.
  • While BMP are usually precursors to many certifications, farmers may see them as a burden rather than a help.
  • Aquaculture represents 77% of Egyptian fish production (mostly tilapia and mullet)
    • 85% = pond-based
    • 15% = cages, rice fields, and intensive farms
  • Key messages from BMP training:
    • reduce overall stocking rates to harvest more fish at larger sizes
    • fertilize the pond to stimulate plankton growth (an additional food source for fish)
    • reduce feed waste and use high-quality feed
  • Methods:
    • Farms that had implemented BMP were compared with farms that had not implemented BMP.
    • Data from 3715 farms were used, 70% of which were considered “high adopters” of BMP
    • An online questionnaire was distributed, and some farmers were interviewed.
  • Results:
    • BMP farms were more likely to practice mullet & tilapia polyculture rather than tilapia monoculture.
    • BMP training resulted in increased profitability, but had no effect on productivity. Average annual net profits were $15,000 greater in BMP farms than non-BMP farms.
    • BMP mostly improved feed and fertilizer management, which improved FCRs. BMP farms used less feed.
    • Operating costs were lower in BMP Farms.
    • There was no difference in total sales between BMP and non-BMP farms
    • BMP did not make a difference to total yield; however, farms with BMPs had larger average fish sizes.
    • BMP farmers were younger and had smaller families than non-BMP farmers (although this was not statistically significant). Statistically, the BMP farmer and non-BMP farmer demographics had no differences.
  • Limitations
    • There may have been some selection bias, as farmer interviews were selected based on connection with certain BMP trainers.

“Growth, digestive activity, welfare, and partial cost-effectiveness of genetically improved farmed tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) cultured in a recirculating aquaculture system and an indoor biofloc system” (Luo et al 2014)

Citation: Luo, G., Gao, Q., Wang, C., Liu, W., Sun, D., Li, L., and Tan, H. (2014). “Growth, digestive activity, welfare, and partial cost-effectiveness of genetically improved farmed tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) cultured in a recirculating aquaculture system and an indoor biofloc system.” Aquaculture, 422-423, pp. 1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2013.11.023

Summary by: Alexandra Pounds

Image Credit: Flickr

  • Big Picture: Tilapia in the biofloc system grew bigger and had a lower FCR than tilapia in traditional RAS. Further, biofloc systems was more cost-effective than the RAS.
  • This experiment compared a biofloc system (BFT) with a traditional recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to find out which was more profitable.
  • Both BFT and RAS recycle water so that farming can take place on land. RAS typically discharges waste, whereas BFT tries to reuse the waste to feed biofloc in the system. This reduces waste, but requires more aeration to keep the biofloc suspended and oxygen levels high. It also works better with hardy filter feeders like shrimp and tilapia, because biofloc can be hard on gills due to the higher suspended solids in the water. This bacteria can help remove nitrogen from the system.
  • Methods:
    • Disolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and water levels were kept constant and equal within both systems.
    • GIFT tilapia was used in both tanks at 8.06 kg/m3 stocking density. They were all fed the same commercial pellets at 2% of biomass daily. Fish were fed 3x per day.
    • Sodium acetate was added to the BFT system at 75% of feed to maintain required Carbon to nitrogen ratio for bacterial health. Biofloc was also removed regularly, as fish did not eat enough of it to maintain the system.
    • The systems were run for 87 days.
  • Physical Results:
    • Both systems removed nitrogen waste sufficently.
    • The BFT system allowed for more efficient uptake of nitrogen and phosphorous, because the N & P in the biofloc is fed back into the fish when they eat the biofloc, instead of being removed from the system as waste.
    • No fish died in either system, and welfare parameters were no different between the systems.
    • There was no difference in lipid or protein content of the fish upon harvest; however, the biofloc system did not meet lipid requirements of tilapia.
    • Individual BFT fish were 22% heavier on average than individual RAS fish.
    • The FCR of BFT fish (1.2) was 18% better than the FCR of the RAS fish (1.47).
    • BFT fish had greater levels of metalloenzymes SODs, which shows that the BFT fish had stronger immue systems.
  • Cost comparison:
    • Energy & depreciation cost was greater for RAS because the RAS needed additional equipment to remove waste.
    • Carbon sources and aeration added to the BFT were the biggest cost in that system.
    • BFT was more cost effective than RAS.