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Construction begins on aquaculture centre

Construction begins on aquaculture centre

Preah Sihanouk farmers to profit from the Kingdom’s first fish- and shrimp-breeding unit, thanks to a $6.6m JICA grant

CONSTRUCTION has begun on Cambodia’s first marine breeding centre, which is set to provide up to half a million young fish to the Kingdom’s farmers each year.

Ground breaking began at the US$6.6 million (624 million yen) Marine Aquaculture Development Centre in Muoy district, Preah Sihanouk province, on Monday.
It is hoped the centre, which is financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will double fish production in the province and help alleviate poverty in the area.

When it is complete, the complex is set to include a fish hatchery, maturation building and a research facility to help breed hundreds of thousands of young shrimp, sea bass and grouper.

“We will complete the whole project in early 2012,” said Seng Solady, JICA programme officer, on Monday.

She said that the centre will respond to the increasing demand of farmers for baby fish, known as fingerlings.

It will also reduce pressure on natural resources while helping stem the impact of infectious fish diseases, by providing technical advice on how best to raise sea fish to local farmers.

Nao Thuok, director general of the Department of Fisheries Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said Sunday that the centre will be able to produce between 400,000 and 500,000 young fish per year.

“We expect that when the centre starts producing young fish that we will be able to double production [in the province] to meet demand from local markets and also reduce poverty,” he said.

“We will provide a quality fish to farmers and teach them how to breed saltwater fish. This will help improve their profits year on year,” he added.

Farmers in Preah Sihanouk have welcomed the development.

Ung Puth Molika, manager of Angkor Shrimp Farming Company, in Veal Rinh district, said that the creation of a breeding centre for young marine creatures will save her time and increase her profits.

Currently, she has to import baby sea bass and grouper from Thailand and Vietnam for between $0.10 and $0.20 a head.

Six to nine months later, the mature fish are sold for between $3.50 and $10 per kilogram, she said. It is not known how much the new centre will charge for fingerlings.

Last year, the Kingdom harvested 515,000 tonnes of fishery products – which included crab, shellfish, sea and river fish. Around 30,000 tonnes of were exported in 2009.

Exports are set to drop by 20 percent this year, as domestic demand from Cambodia’s growing population increases, the Fishery Administration announced Sunday.

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