Volume 57

Integrating Aquaculture into Caribbean Development: Selection of Marine Species

Van Wyk, P.; Davis, M.
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Date: November, 2004

Pages: 917-928

Event: Proceedings of the Fifty Seventh Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: St. Petersburg, Florida

Country: USA


Many Caribbean nations have recognized the potential of mariculture to help meet local demand for fish and other marine products and to relieve pressure on fisheries. Governments and investors are especially interested in culturing species that are traditionally associated with the Caribbean, such as the spiny lobster, queen conch, and Nassau grouper. Commercial feasibility needs to be reviewed for these species and other candidate species. In some cases, the hatchery technology may be a major constraint, while in other species problems may exist in the nursery or growout phases of production. There are also candidate species for which the culture technology is well developed, but market prices are too low to allow for profitable production in the Caribbean. Expansion of Caribbean mariculture is critically dependent upon the identification of species with highest commercial potential.\To assist in determining commercial feasibility of a species, a scoring system was developed based on a mixture of technological, economic, and market-related factors. This system was used to rank nine species commonly considered as candidates for Caribbean aquaculture in order of their commercial feasibility. The species were rated in five different categories:\i) Hatchery technology,\ii) Nursery technology,\iii) Growout technology,\iv) Environmental impacts, and\v) Marketability.\Species rankings were highly dependent upon the culture technologies selected, as well as on individual marketing opportunities. The top five species ranked in order of their aquaculture commercial feasibility in the Caribbean were: cobia, sponge, shrimp, spiny lobster and queen conch. This ranking system is a tool that can assist in identifying species with the best commercial potential. However, investment decisions should also be based on detailed economic analyses.

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