AQUACULTURE IN BELIZE

For More Information

Please contact:

Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Tel: 501-2-73148
Fax: 501-2-74984
www.belize.org
 
Trade and Investment Promotion Service (TIPS)
Tel: 501-8-23737
Fax: 501-8-20595
tipsbze@btl.net
http://www.belizeinvest.org.bz
 
Belize Fisheries Department
Tel: 501-2-44552
Fax: 501-2-32983
 
Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association
Tel: 501-2-34650
Fax: 501-2-33982
Aquaculture is one of the oldest forms of agriculture, having originated in China thousands of years ago. It is defined as: The rearing of aquatic plants and animals in a controlled natural environment, or in man-made ponds, at densities greater than those found under natural conditions; primarily by controlling one or more phases of their biological cycle, or the environment in which they develop.

With the ever increasing demand for seafood products, natural stocks are declining rapidly, creating worldwide concern that measures must be taken to preserve natural fisheries. While the normal yield of the sea is approximately 2 kilograms/hectare, and freshwater fisheries about 12 kilograms/hectare, farm ponds have been known to produce as much as 5000 kilograms/hectare. In addition to food production, aquaculture products can be utilized for genetic engineering, bio-medical research and pharmaceutical purposes.

Belize possesses several competitive advantages, which, when combined, present a bright future for the aquaculture industry here. Our tropical climate allows for year-round production; wide-ranging environments exist for different types of culture methods; there is a labour market surplus; and our geographical location provides proximity to international market destinations. Belize also has a stable government, and offers fiscal incentives to investors, providing for corporate tax holidays and duty exemptions on equipment, among other things.

There is a great local awareness of the value of aquaculture as it pertains to the sustainability of our natural fishery. The Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association, Ltd. (BFCA), which provides legal, educational and technical services to its members, has recently been focusing its efforts on training programs, in order to assist local fishermen in making the transition to farm-based fisheries. The BFCA works closely with the Fisheries Department and some foreign aid organizations to work toward the common goal of fishing sustainability.

The hoped-for result will be the development of small, locally owned shrimp and/or fish ponds, with or without the aid of outside investment. A by-product of these efforts will be a well trained labour force, which further increases the attraction of foreign investment in the aquaculture industry of Belize.

Currently, the majority of investments in Belize aquaculture are in shrimp farming. Other species cultured here include the Australian Red Claw Lobster and fin fish, namely Tilapia and Red Drum. In 1994, export earnings from these enterprises reached US$4.5 million, and conservative estimates for 1997 place that figure at US$12.5 million. It is expected that, by the year 2000, aquaculture earnings will be in excess of US$50 million.

[This information is from from the BFCA's quarterly newsletters.]

For More Information

Please contact:

Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Tel: 501-2-73148
Fax: 501-2-74984
www.belize.org
 
Trade and Investment Promotion Service (TIPS)
Tel: 501-8-23737
Fax: 501-8-20595
tipsbze@btl.net
http://www.belizeinvest.org.bz
 
Belize Fisheries Department
Tel: 501-2-44552
Fax: 501-2-32983
 
Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association
Tel: 501-2-34650
Fax: 501-2-33982
Aquaculture is one of the oldest forms of agriculture, having originated in China thousands of years ago. It is defined as: The rearing of aquatic plants and animals in a controlled natural environment, or in man-made ponds, at densities greater than those found under natural conditions; primarily by controlling one or more phases of their biological cycle, or the environment in which they develop.

With the ever increasing demand for seafood products, natural stocks are declining rapidly, creating worldwide concern that measures must be taken to preserve natural fisheries. While the normal yield of the sea is approximately 2 kilograms/hectare, and freshwater fisheries about 12 kilograms/hectare, farm ponds have been known to produce as much as 5000 kilograms/hectare. In addition to food production, aquaculture products can be utilized for genetic engineering, bio-medical research and pharmaceutical purposes.

Belize possesses several competitive advantages, which, when combined, present a bright future for the aquaculture industry here. Our tropical climate allows for year-round production; wide-ranging environments exist for different types of culture methods; there is a labour market surplus; and our geographical location provides proximity to international market destinations. Belize also has a stable government, and offers fiscal incentives to investors, providing for corporate tax holidays and duty exemptions on equipment, among other things.

There is a great local awareness of the value of aquaculture as it pertains to the sustainability of our natural fishery. The Belize Fishermen Cooperative Association, Ltd. (BFCA), which provides legal, educational and technical services to its members, has recently been focusing its efforts on training programs, in order to assist local fishermen in making the transition to farm-based fisheries. The BFCA works closely with the Fisheries Department and some foreign aid organizations to work toward the common goal of fishing sustainability.

The hoped-for result will be the development of small, locally owned shrimp and/or fish ponds, with or without the aid of outside investment. A by-product of these efforts will be a well trained labour force, which further increases the attraction of foreign investment in the aquaculture industry of Belize.

Currently, the majority of investments in Belize aquaculture are in shrimp farming. Other species cultured here include the Australian Red Claw Lobster and fin fish, namely Tilapia and Red Drum. In 1994, export earnings from these enterprises reached US$4.5 million, and conservative estimates for 1997 place that figure at US$12.5 million. It is expected that, by the year 2000, aquaculture earnings will be in excess of US$50 million.

[This information is from from the BFCA's quarterly newsletters.]


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