Tuesday, May 15, 2018

15/05/2018: Fish in the desert - optimising towards the future

by Antonio Garza de Yta

Lebanon, a country of contrasts, of incomparable beauty, a place where 17 religions and a greater number of ideologies merge.

In this country where you can ski in the morning and bathe in one of its beaches in the afternoon the Phoenician culture was born, and today it is home to one of the clearest and most progressive visions of aquaculture worldwide.

Within the American University in Beirut, an institution founded in 1866, and the most important university in eastern Italy, Dr Imad Saoud works. Dr Saoud is not only one of the visionaries and experts (perhaps the most important) of Aquaculture in Arid Zones, but also a fervent believer (like many of us) that the blue revolution cannot be postponed. The world needs the aquaculture of that great step to increase food production by 70 percent by 2050 in a world where there is no more fresh water or more land and the pressure for resources is increasing.

Taking advantage of this visit I made to sign a collaboration agreement between the American University in Beirut and the Technological University of the Sea of Tamaulipas (UTMarT) for exchange and training, both for technical and administrative staff and for students, I would like to share with you a very brief review of what happens in this part of the world.

First of all, I think it is important to emphasise that everything that I will describe later is done with very few resources, but with a very clear vision; In Mexico we have a lot to learn.

Not only Dr Saoud and his team of collaborators have actively worked on the concept of Integrated Aquaculture and Agriculture and have cooperated with the trout producers of the region, but have also promoted the concept of "More Crop for your Drop" "That is the maximisation of the harvest with the minimum of resources. It is not only about the reuse of water, but to minimise the environmental footprint, that is the great challenge to avoid the degradation of increasingly limited resources.

Of the jobs with the greatest potential for application at a productive level, they are undoubtedly those made with the waste from restaurant meals. Here we have sought to make an alternative diet that, in addition to eliminating organic waste and reusing it once processed, seeks to reduce the costs of small producers who carry out this activity in a complementary manner. The use of these foods as a sole source of nutrients or intercalated with commercial diets is analysed. One of the projects that we will probably start in Mexico in the future will be the reuse of the most efficient waste of the Mexican diet, tortillas, in alternative diets for species such as tilapia or catfish.

Read the full article, HERE.

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