The UK Department for International Development (DfID) is donating about 1,700 supermale tilapia sets to the National Aquaculture Association of Guyana (NAAG).

According to a press release the donation is valued at about 60,000 pounds sterling and it will be used to stock a planned fish hatchery. Supermales are genetically bred male fish that have two Y sex chromosomes instead of the usual XY pair allowing it to produce only male offspring, the release said. It said too producing only male fish eliminates “the time consuming and costly task of separating the male and female fish by hand – a practice that prevents mating and contributes to a faster growing crop of fish.”

The supermales are expected to produce about 82 million fingerlings (juvenile fish) over the next five years, potentially resulting in US$70.4M for the industry and more than 1,000 new jobs in the fisheries and surrounding industries. The DfID office in Guyana said: “We are delighted to provide these supermale tilapia for Guyana’s growing aquaculture industry, which we believe has great potential to create income, jobs and exports.”

DfID’s contribution comes on the heels of past success growing and breeding the supermale tilapia locally. In December 2007 the British High Commission had given the Fisheries Department’s Mon Repos Acquacul-ture Research Station a batch of supermales and it had bred them successfully. The Station then established a small hatchery that has been providing offspring to aquaculture farmers. It is based on this success that DfID is donating additional tilapias. The supermales are coming from the University of Wales Swansea where DfID’s Fish Genetic Programme funded the original research that led to the technology.

NAAG said the first batch will go to stock a planned hatchery at Cove and John. DfID’s support will energize the industry by making it possible for farmers to buy quality fingerling stock, one of the essential inputs for aquaculture. A second essential input is high protein fish feed which is already manufactured locally and with local ingredients.

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