Call edition 2012
A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.
With a growth rate of 11.6 % per year, fish-farming or aquaculture has been the fastest-growing form of animal production in the world for the last twenty years. In view of the stagnation of sea fishing, it plays an important role in efforts to combat malnutrition in a number of countries where the per capita income is very low. However, because of the great diversity of species cultivated around the world, the growth of aquaculture is often limited by the degree of mastery of reproduction, rearing and disease control in the early stages of development (i.e. eggs and larvae). In particular, the surface of the eggs often accommodates colonies of bacteria which can damage the chorion, thereby jeopardising the development of the embryo. These problems impose a limit on the use of young fish for subsequent growth in pools, cages and so on, and hence the cultivation of the fish as a whole. In view of these problems, the systematic use of antibiotics has often been the only recommended solution, but this has given rise both to risks for the environment and for the users themselves, and to the rapid appearance of resistance phenomena.
Raphael Mbaluka’s work focuses on the effects of using immersion in baths to apply a mixture of probiotics of bacterial origin (after disinfection in glutaraldehyde) on the incubation of turbot eggs, their hatching rate and the survival rate of the larvae at the start of their exogenous feeding on live prey (rotifers). This study, which is effectively conducted and shows signs of a sound scientific basis, opens up an interesting potential alternative to the use of antibiotics to control bacterial infection at the still very delicate stage of the incubation and hatching of the eggs. As such, it would appear to be of considerable value for development, especially in countries which centralise the production of young fish before they are distributed to local fish-farmers to be raised to a commercially viable size.
In conclusion, this work opens up interesting prospects for the development of sustainable aquaculture in certain fish species, including in a tropical environment.
report by Prof. X. Rollin, Laboratory of Pisciculture, Université Catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium