Basic Training Course on Mariculture Inaugurated

02 Jun 2013

In a bid to better utilize the country’s abundant marine resources, a course providing information and basic training on several mariculture initiatives was inaugurated today by the Marine Research Centre (MRC), targeting 19 participants from across the Maldives.

The Basic Mariculture Training course is an activity under the ‘Support to Integrated Farming’ project of the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (MoFA), supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The course will touch upon topics including aquaculture, pearl culture, fin fish culture, shrimp culture, seaweed culture, and algae culture.

The two-week long course encompassing theory and practical sessions will also impart technical knowledge on managing water circulation systems, disease control and quarantine, environmental aspects and so forth. It builds upon previous research and pilot projects undertaken by MRC and partners to determine mariculture activities that can be commercialized, including pearl culture, seaweed culture and sea cucumber culture.

In order to properly document these mariculture initiatives, UNDP assisted with developing knowledge materials that were made available to the private sector. These include;

1. Basic Mariculture Training Course (2012)
2. Aquarist’s Guide to Clownfish Culture (2012)
3. Pearl and Mother of Pearl Jewellery Handbook (2012), and
4. Pearl Culture handbook (2010)

MRC’s mariculture training course would serve to field test these knowledge materials. This will support MoFA/MRC’s mariculture development plan, and act as a first step towards a sustained formal training programme to build on the mariculture awareness programmes conducted in the atolls. It would also complement the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) ‘Mariculture Enterprise Development’ project slated to commence this year, which will have several components to support mariculture development.

The Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Ahmed Shafeeu, stated that despite pilot projects carried out with the aim to capitalize on the huge potential for mariculture development, one reason for the slow growth in this industry is the limited private sector investment in mariculture initiatives

“Private sector engagement is crucial to facilitate investments for sustainability of the sector. The mariculture initiatives can access local, resort and export markets, and most importantly create income generating opportunities, especially at the island level,” Minister Shafeeu said.

The participants of MRC’s mariculture training course can build up on the basics, and can potentially access the loan scheme which will be introduced under the IFAD project, for interested private sector parties to start up mariculture businesses.

It was announced that the course will be accredited in the future and will be adopted by MRC as the formal basic training provided in mariculture. MoFA is also planning to develop more courses which specializes in each activity at a more advanced level.

UNDP has been supporting mariculture initiatives in the country since early 2003, as part of the broader national efforts of diversifying the economy, primarily dominated by tourism and fisheries sectors.

Contact Information

Aminath Ibrahim, Communication Officer, (+960) 3343285, aminath.ibrahim@undp.org