A Generic Integrated Mariculture System for the Mediterranean & Red Sea

A new project financed by US-AID (MERC) aims to improve land-based integrated mariculture.

NCM pilot saltwater fish farm, Eilat

The integrated system is based on recycling fish excretions into feed for other valuable crops such as oysters, clams and seaweed. The goal of the project is to increase efficiency of the land-based system and reduce nutrient effluents that negatively effect both the Mediterranean and Red Sea. Two similar pilot systems employing new techniques to maximize nutrient conversion to edible products are in the final stages of construction on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt and in Eilat, Israel. Once in operation, scientists will evaluate the production of fish and shellfish while monitoring the nutrient flow. After an economic feasibility evaluation following two operational seasons, models will be developed for conversion of nutrients into fish, shellfish and seaweed biomass. This information will help researchers plan for commercialization of the integrated system.

The kickoff meeting of the new MERC project was held at Taba, Egypt, in January 2008. Drs. Muki Shpigel and George Kissil of the National Center for Mariculture (NCM) in Eilat head the Israeli team. They collaborate with their counterparts from the National Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries (NIOF), Alexandria, Egypt. NIOF and NCM have cooperated on mariculture projects since the Camp David accords in the early 1980s. This project is the late Dr. Bob Abel’s final achievement in fostering scientific cooperation between Israeli and Egyptian scientists.