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United Kingdom’s Ocean Country Partnership Programme conducts aquaculture technical workshop for Ministry of Agriculture Aquaculture Unit officers

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2023. 4:39 pm CST.

Photo Credit: MAFSE

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Three aquaculture experts from the United Kingdom’s Ocean Country Partnership Programme on Thursday conducted a one-day technical workshop for officers of the Ministry of Agriculture Aquaculture Unit at Central Farm.

The objective of the workshop was to develop the skills and expertise needed to adopt sustainable aquaculture food safety practices and risk analysis in fish disease.

According to Ministry of Agriculture Aquaculture Coordinator Miguel Sosa, the three British specialists Dr. Mickael Teixeira Alves (Risk Assessment), Matthew Green (histopathology), and Jason Mewett, who work for the Center for Environmental Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, are experts in the fields of risk assessment in agriculture and laboratory techniques for disease monitoring. Additionally, Mewett is a Senior Fish Farm Inspection Officer in the United Kingdom.

“They have been tasked with evaluating the fish health, fish disease, and food safety needs of the aquaculture industry,” Sosa said.

“They have met with our colleagues from BAHA and today they are meeting with us here in the Agriculture Department.”

The three are on a fact-finding mission for the Ocean Country Partnership Programme, in which Belize is interested in participating, to verify the needs that could be met by that program.

Sosa said MAFSE invited the University of Belize students to the workshop so they can take advantage of the training. The students were taught the anatomy of tilapia at the tilapia hatchery. The MAFSE personnel also received more advanced training.

Sosa added that the three British experts will do a report on the needs that can be met for a future project with Belize.

“If we are fortunate, down the road we can get that project approved,” Sosa said.

“[The project] would assist the Ministry of Agriculture, BAHA, and the Aquaculture [Unit] with addressing any technical gaps that we have in fish disease, fish monitoring, and food safety.”

Sosa said that Belize, which has a large tourism industry, would like to be self-sustainable, and farmed tilapia and shrimp can substitute the gap in the supply and demand of seafood.

The Ocean Country Partnership Programme supports countries in strengthening marine science expertise, developing science-based policy and management tools, as well as creating educational resources for coastal communities.

On Friday, the three British experts visited the Itzayana Farm in San Antonio in the Cayo District where tilapia is cultivated. The farm also grows pigs and quails.


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