earliest freshwater aquaculture trials (fish farming)
were carried out in the 1970s and involved the culturing
of Tilapia fish in small family fishponds by farmers
in their rice fields in the fresh water zone of the
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) with assistance from
the US Peace Corps
(PCVs) and the Department of Fisheries has also carried
out culture trials.
Such earlier efforts at pond culture failed to produce
the desired production levels however, important lessons
were learnt by the Fisheries Department which is has
used to set up pilot fish ponds in the rice growing
areas of Gambia.
Shrimp Farming: In 1982 a company called
West African Aquaculture engaged in fish farming to
raise the P. Monodon from lava to maturity. Of the original
200 ha only 50 are being used today which in 2006 produced
Two fish farms were being operated Pirang and Sanyang
Point by Scan Gambia Ltd. of Norway who introduced the
foreign Black Tiger Prawn (Peneaus monodon) in 1988
but closed down in 1992 due to financial problems.
1982, The Gambia: industrial farm, “West Africa Aquaculture”
(WAAq) Semi-intensive farm raising includes a
hatchery and a processing plant producing to EUstandards.
Of the original 200 hectares, only 50 are being used
for production today. With a production of 50 tons in
2006, this farm is the only one in West Africa today
with the capacity to serve as a base for modeling production
methods adapted to the local context.
The development of Oyster cultivation in Gambia has
been a priority for the Government for some years now.
The Department of Fisheries has conducted research studies
on the mangrove oyster of West Africa Ostrea (Crassostrea)
tulipa which indicates great commercial potential though
the market has not yet been adequately identified. The
rack system for harvesting the mollusk delicacy has
proved a more efficient method for their exploitation
that the more sustainable alternative than the current
harvesting method and was less destructive on mangrove
ecology. Policy makers want to encourage less destructive
methods, increase oyster production as well as better
access to credit facilities for low income producers.
activities are currently being carried out by the Department
of Fisheries in co-operation with Department of Agriculture.
The pilot fish culture ponds at Sapu in the Central
River Division is part of the continuing effort of the
Department to assist farmers improve their incomes and
Several communities in the area have expressed interest
in fish farming but lack adequate specialized equipment
and knowledge of the technical processes associated
with fish farming. Tilapia and Clarias senegalensis
are the fish species to be considered for future culture
in the trial rice fields of the project.
The development and growth of commercial aquaculture
holds great possibilities and is hoped to decrease or
hold the country's reliance on netted fish. This coupled
with shrimp and oyster culture has the potential to
be economically and naturally feasible within the area
of the Gambia River's estuarine geography as well as
the fresh water flood plains of the Central River Region
for species such as catfish and Tilapia.
Commercial aquaculture entails culturing of high economic
value species such as shrimps aimed at the export market.
Due to the nutritional and economic potential of the
aquaculture sector the Gambia Government's policy is
to develop 3 areas of the aquaculture i.e. commercial,
artisan and subsistence. The strategy includes the development
of community participation, training farmers in pond
construction methods and maintenance, tidal irrigation
methods and access to loans.
Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Tel: (220) 4228291 / 4228292
Fax: (220) 4228230