Socio-ecological aquacultures

The development of aquaculture in marine environment (maricultures) is one of the solutions to oppose to the anthropic pressure exerted by mass fishing and wild collections. Some emerging aquacultures, the socio-ecological aquacultures, are ecologically "clean" and beneficial to some low-income, disadvantaged communities. Our laboratory supports the development of these socio-ecological aquacultures by bringing its expertise in the biological field. Among these aquacultures, we have been involved in the development of holothuriculture in the Indian and Pacific Oceans for more than fifteen years. We are also involved in research projects on the development of seaweed farming and coralliculture. At the same time, our research on corals looks at their biodiversity in southwestern Madagascar, the study of their diseases and the biology of black corals.

 
 
 

Holothuriculture

From the research project "Holothuriculture" started in 1998 in Madagascar was born the company Spin Off "Madagascar Holothurie". The research project was used to monitor the life history of a commercial sea cucumber Holothuria scabra under breeding conditions. H. scabra is a species that is consumed by Chinese people, is exported to China and sold on local markets. At present, Madagascar Sea Cucumber is integrated into a production company "Indian Ocean Trepang", where it became its department of "Research and Development". The originality of Indian Ocean Trepang is to mass produce juveniles, some of which supplies the local communities with the aim of involving the natives in the growing phase. Coastal villagers can thus sell the final product, allowing them to live on something other than their fisheries.

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Coralliculture and coral protection

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In the context of the global decline in coral reef biodiversity and the development of the live coral market, coralliculture is a promising aquaculture with some economic potential. Our laboratory participates in the development of this aquaculture by evaluating its potential in the villages of the south-west of Madagascar but also by identifying the biodiversity of the scleractinians in order to evaluate their potential of recruitment and to choose the best candidates for the coralliculture. In addition to the "real" reef-forming corals, our laboratory is also interested in black corals, which are organisms that have been exploited since ancient times. In Madagascar, they are collected illegally and massively and are resold to tourists on local markets or exported to Asia. Paradoxically, no data exists on their biology in the Indian Ocean and particularly on Madagascar. Our research focuses on their growth, longevity, reproduction and the diversity of populations in southwestern Madagascar

Algoculture

Madagascar, started the cultivation of red algae in 1989, with the Cottonii Kappaphycus alvarezii, a red alga from which is extracted the carrageenans (polysaccharide serving as a thickening agent and stabilization in the food industry). These algae are grown by villagers who, after a few weeks, dry them and sell them to local companies who export them to the industrialized countries. We support the development of seaweed farming through our researches which aim to understand some aspects of the biology of these algae and in particular their diseases. Our research is interested in EFAD or "Epiphytic Filamentous Algal Disease". This disease is caused by small epiphytic algae that eventually kill the cultivated algae causing a drastic decrease in production.

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Service de Biologie des Organismes Marins
et Biomimétisme
6, Av. du champ de Mars - Pentagone, aile 2B
7000 - Mons
Belgique