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Small-scale aquaponic food production – Integrated fish and plant farming













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    Book (stand-alone)
    The feasibility of aquaponics in Mauritius 2012
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    This report outlines the findings from an investigation into the viability of introducing aquaponics as an alternative technology to sustainably producing freshwater fish as part of the SmartFish program - Technical Assistance for Implementation of a regional fisheries strategy for ESA-IO region. Aquaponics is the integration of hydroponic plant culture in the land based culture of fish. In an aquaponic system the fish supply the nutrients to the plants (in the form of natural wastes) and the p lants form part of the water treatment system (by removing the wastes) from the recirculated fish water. A variety of fish and plants can be co-cultured in an aquaponic system. The benefits of an aquaponic system include; • the use very little new water, • higher yields of fish and plants per unit area than traditional agriculture, • disease and insect resistance to the plants, • no use of fertilizers or pesticides and • systems are scalable to meet the needs of the producer. Mauritius (a small island country) imports the majority of its food crops due to restrictions on water availability and adverse climatic conditions. Hydroponic vegetable production has been established and is starting to expand. As a first step a mission was undertaken to evaluate the viability of introducing aquaponics in Mauritius. The assessment and application of this technology although focused on the economics of Mauritius will have application to many African countries in the region, particularly those wher e freshwater fish are consumed.
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    Book (series)
    A strategic reassessment of fish farming potential in Africa 1998
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    The present study is an update of an earlier assessment of warm-water fish farming potential in Africa, by Kapetsky (1994). The objective of this study was to assess locations and areal expanses that have potential for warm-water and temperate-water fish farming in continental Africa. The study was based on previous estimates for Africa by the above author, and on estimates of potential for warm-water and temperate-water fish farming in Latin America by Kapetsky and Nath (1997). However, a nu mber of refinements have been made. The most important refinement was that new data allowed a sevenfold increase in resolution over that used in the previous Africa study, and a twofold increase over that of Latin America (i.e. to 3 arc minutes, equivalent to 5 km x 5 km grids at the equator), making the present results more usable in order to assess fish farming potential at the national level. A geographical information system (GIS) was used to evaluate each grid cell on the basis of severa l land-quality factors important for fish-farm development and operation regardless of the fish species used. Protected areas, large inland water bodies and major cities were identified as constraint areas, and were excluded from any fish farming development altogether. Small-scale fish farming potential was assessed on the basis of four factors: water requirement from ponds due to evaporation and seepage, soil and terrain suitability for pond construction based on a variety of soil attributes a nd slopes, availability of livestock wastes and agricultural by-products as feed inputs based on manure and crop potential, and farm-gate sales as a function of population density. For commercial farming, an urban market potential criterion was added based on population size of urban centres and travel time proximity. Both small-scale and commercial models were developed by weighting the above factors using a multi-criteria decision-making procedure. A bioenergetics model was incorporated int o the GIS to predict, for the first time, fish yields across Africa. A gridded water temperature data set was used as input to a bioenergetics model to predict number of crops per year for the following three species: Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) and Common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Similar analytical approaches to those by Kapetsky and Nath (1997) were followed in the yield estimation. However, different specifications were used for small-scale and co mmercial farming scenarios in order to reflect the types of culture practices found in Africa. Moreover, the fish growth simulation model, documented in Kapetsky and Nath (1997), was refined to enable consideration of feed quality and high fish biomass in ponds. The small-scale and commercial models derived from the land-quality evaluation were combined with the yield potential of each grid cell for each of the three fish species to show the coincidence of each land-quality suitability class with a range of yield potentials. Finally, the land quality-fish yield potential combinations were put together to show where the fish farming potential coincided for the three fish species. The results are generally positive. Estimates of the quality of land show that about 23% of continental Africa scored very suitable for both small-scale and commercial fish farming. For the three fish species, 50-76% of Africa's land has the highest yield range potential, and the spatial distribution of th is yield is quite similar among the species and farming systems. However, the spatial distribution of carp culture potential was greater than for Nile tilapia and African catfish. Combining the two farming system models with the favourable yields of the three fish species suggest that over 15% of the continent has land areas with high suitability for pond aquaculture.
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    Document
    Aquaponics: a smart fish-based solution to growing food using limited resources and little water 2014
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    Aquaponics is the cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment. It is a synergy between fish and plants and the term stems from the two words Aquaculture (the growing of fish in a closed environment) and Hydroponics (the growing of plants usually in a soil-less environment). Aquaponic systems come in various sizes from small indoor units to large commercial units. They can be either fresh water systems or contain salt or brackish water.

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