Land-based aqua-culture expansion in St Kitts and Nevis

Land-based aqua-culture expansion in St Kitts and Nevis

St Kitts and Nevis aims to develop land-based aqua-culture facilities to bolster local food production and reduce dependency on imports.

 

As part of the ‘25 by 25’ agenda the Government of St Kitts and Nevis are making significant strides with its sustainable island state agenda that aims to reduce the country’s food imports as one of its key strategic pillars

The St Kitts Department of Marine Resources’ objective is to decrease the food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025. 

The aim is to develop land-based aqua-culture facilities to bolster local food production and reduce dependency on imports. 

The Director of Marine Resources, Randel Thompson, highlighted the construction of a dedicated building for aquaculture as a crucial aspect to the strategy, including timelines and a one-year completion date. 

Mr Thompson revealed plans for the development of sea moss production exhibition sites, marking a significant step forward in marine sector transformation. 

Diverse Land-based Aqua-culture Activities

The facility will primarily focus on rearing fish or shrimp from eggs or at a fingerling stage until they reach market size for consumption.  

Additionally, ornamental fish development will be incorporated into the facility’s activities. 

Increased Production of Baitfish

Recognising the importance of baitfish in supporting the local fisheries sector, the strategy includes a significant increase in the production of baitfish.  

This aims to address challenges faced by fishers in obtaining bait and ensure a readily available supply for fishing activities. 

Importance of Baitfish

Baitfish are acknowledged as a crucial resource for attracting larger fish, thus enhancing the effectiveness of fishing endeavours. 

Sea Moss Production Initiative

A core aspect of the aquaculture expansion involves focusing on sea moss production.  

Sea moss production exhibition sites are scheduled commence operations in the coming weeks, representing a key component of the Department’s Transformation Strategy 2024. 

The first sites planned between Old Road and New Guinea, slated for establishment within the first quarter of the year. 

Furthermore, Mr Thompson disclosed intentions to establish additional exhibition sites, with Dieppe Bay identified as another potential location.  

He emphasised the benefits of this coastal area for sea moss production due to favourable sea conditions. 

Stakeholder Involvement and Education

Mr Thompson highlighted the importance of stakeholder engagement, by inviting fishers, entrepreneurs, and other interested parties to participate in viewing the development of the exhibition sites.  

This engagement will educate stakeholders on sustainable and innovative sea moss farming methods. 

Sustainable Economic Growth

Mr Thompson noted the economic benefits of sea moss production, through training and research conducted at the sea moss exhibition sites. 

In addition, he highlighted the role of skilled fishers in bolstering the resilience and sustainability of the marine sector. He emphasised the importance of their involvement in sea moss production and other aquaculture endeavours. 

Agriculture ‘25 by 25’ Initiative 

The Ministry of Agriculture had also launched their plan to reduce food imports by 25 per cent by 2025. 

This is an additional part to the twin-federation’s ‘25 by 25’ initiative, set by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). 

The aim is to capitalise on the expertise of local farmers to achieve this goal. 

Read more: The Government of St Kitts and Nevis Anticipate Surge in Agriculture and Marine Sector Support in 2024

Empowering Local Farmers and Collaboration

Various farmers have adopted sustainable farming practices that contribute towards the twin-federation’s food security that are recognised by Government. 

This has led to partnerships between farmers and the Government to advance the ‘25 by 25’ agenda. 

In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Government is actively pursuing agricultural reforms. The aim is to modernise farming techniques and providing comprehensive support to farmers. 

These initiatives aim to create an enabling environment for farmers to continue to thrive and contribute to national food security. 

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