Science of Artisanal Maricultures and Village Farming
A Unique International Certificate
The artisanal maricultures
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2022 the “International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture”. Artisanal fishing (also called traditional, rural or small-scale fisheries) is that carried out by fishermen individually or in association, using different types of boats or practicing fishing on foot in a limited range of action. Fishing techniques are very varied, from fishing with various nets to longline fishing, placing traps at sea, harvesting with bare hands and spearing while snorkeling. Artisanal maricultures (“artisanal maricultures or small-scale maricultures”), for their part, are aquacultures carried out in a marine environment where the organisms of interest are produced by families or coastal village communities. They generally involve extensive or semi-intensive production technologies, low cost and adapted to local economic resources. Sixty million people, including 14% women, were employed in the primary capture fishing and aquaculture sector in 2018 with 40 million people in the artisanal fishing sector alone. Around 100 million additional people are added in associated activities such as processing and marketing of fish products, boat building and net making. Artisanal fisheries and maricultures are strongly rooted in the heritage of local communities and bear witness to the historical links which unite them with traditions and which strengthen social cohesion. This sector thus contains a diversity and cultural richness of global importance. Along with small-scale agricultural workers, however, artisanal fishermen/aquaculturists continue to be among the most disadvantaged populations in the world. Availability and access to social services in fishing communities is often below average, leading to low educational attainment and poor health conditions. Added to this is a reduction in the quantities and quality of fishery products captured due to excessive anthropogenic pressure and global ecological problems leading to the degradation of certain ecosystems such as coral reefs. In Madagascar, our consortium has supported the development of artisanal maricultures and village farming for more than 20 years. The first mariculture developed was sea cucumber, i.e., the breeding of holothuroids or sea cucumbers. The species produced in Madagascar is Holothuria scabra and is exported to China for food purposes. Today, sea cucumber farming is practiced on company farms (70% of production) and village farming (30%). Seaweed farming, which emerged after sea cucumber farming in Madagascar, consists of the cultivation of a red macroalgae, Kappaphycus alvarezii, which is exported to industrialized countries to extract carrageenans which are used in food and cosmetics. It is entirely practiced in “village farming”. Spiruliculture is the cultivation of spirulina, a cyanobacteria of the Arthrospira genus, exported for its nutritional benefits. Coral farming is an artisanal mariculture in the making. It concerns the production of corals most often for aquarium purposes. It started in Madagascar 5 years ago and is currently developing under the “village farming” model.
The problems that the proposed training addresses
Marine fisheries resources cannot indefinitely meet the growing demand exerted by humans. From 1950 to 1988, the production of capture fisheries increased from 20 to 90 million tons per year then, despite an intensified fishing effort, this production stagnated at 90 million tons/year reflecting the maximum limit reached of what can be provided by our oceans. At the same time, the overexploitation of natural fish stocks increased from 10% to 34% between 1974 and 2017. Coastal fish stocks are decreasing drastically and impacting the standard of living of artisanal fishing communities. Artisanal fishermen represent 2/3 of fishermen in the world. The reduction in fish resources caught by artisanal fishermen is a global problem and can be highlighted by the drastic reduction in the volume of products caught daily. This decrease affects both fished invertebrates and fish. Maricultures and in particular artisanal maricultures constitute a sustainable alternative to fishing. Marine aquaculture production has increased fivefold since 1980 and represents approximately a third of the tonnage caught by fishing. The development of artisanal maricultures around the world is quite recent. In Madagascar, village farming was developed in the early 2000s. It is practiced by both women and men. In the area targeted by this project (Toliara region, southwest of Madagascar), sea cucumber village farming today represents 226 farms involving 307 families of village fishermen on more than 300 km of coastline and village seaweed farming is practiced by 1,700 fishing families (around 3,500 villagers). Spiruliculture, for its part, has given rise to some 30 private Malagasy companies and emerging coral farming is being implemented on a trial basis in a few villages. The success of the Malagasy model is internationally recognized and the demand to transpose this model to other countries is significant. To respond to this request, various actions were carried out. As non-exhaustive examples, consultations in sea cucumber farming and village farming were carried out in Nosy Ankao and Nosy Ve (Madagascar), in the Seychelles, in the Sultanate of Oman, in Rodrigues and St Brandon (Mauritius), in Colombia, in Mayotte and New Caledonia (France). In these countries, this work has sometimes led to the consolidation of research into these maricultures but none has led to the development of financially independent private firms or to obvious positive impacts on coastal villagers. The reasons for the lack of effectiveness of the transfer of skills are varied: they can be due to biological problems (for example poor practice in the growth of the aquacultured organism), agronomic (poor "scaling-up" of the technique), economic (for example poor calculation of profitability or bad business plan) and/or sociological (for example poor understanding of the structure of the targeted communities, poor supervision of mariculturists). After discussing it with several requesting countries, the idea of training in Madagascar for representatives of foreign entities interested in good practices of these maricultures and village farming is unanimously perceived as an essential step that is part of the solution to these problems. Training relating to certain specific artisanal maricultures (such as, for example, shellfish farming) already exists in the world, but there is no training relating to generalities relating to artisanal maricultures, nor any training covering the specificities of village farming and four maricultures developed in Madagascar.
Become an expert in the practice of four artisanal maricultures: the
holothuriculture, algoculture, coralliculture and spiruliculture
Theoretical courses are online, practical courses are given at the Belaza
Marine Station (IH.SM, Toliara, Madagascar)
Masters or Engineers (natural sciences or social sciences) interested in
sustainable marine developments
Short certificate: 2 to 3 months; long certificate 1 year
Courses (in English) are taught by international experts
Opening of the first promotion in September 2024