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The inland water fishes of Africa

Didier Paugy
Christian Levêque
Olga Otero

Fish culture

Jean-françois Agnèse, Randall Brummett, Marc Legendre et Christian Levêque


Although Egyptians were rearing the tilapia Oreochromis niloticus in artificial ponds nearly 4,000 years ago, the African continent, no tradition of fish culture. In the early twentieth century, niloticus in artificial unlike Asia, has aquaculture was still virtually unknown there. The first attempts to develop it date back to the 1940s.
These initial attempts were part of a broader goal to diversify the sources of animal protein in order to promote the food self-sufficiency of rural populations. When pilot tests with tilapia at the Kipopo station created in 1949 in the former Belgian Congo yielded promising results, colonial administrators proceeded with expanding these activities. By the end of the 1960s, there were a number of such research/demonstration stations dotted across the continent: Djoumouna (Congo), Landjia (Central African Republic), Foumban (Cameroon), Bouaké (Côte d’Ivoire), Sagana (Kenya), Anamalazaotra & Ampamaherana (Madagascar), Kanjasi (Uganda), Chilanga (Zambia), Henderson (Zimbabwe), and Domasi (Malawi).
The first tests conducted at these stations involved species that have now been abandoned because of poor yields: Coptodon zillii, Coptodon rendalli, Sarotherodon galilaeus, Oreochromis mossambicus and Oreochromis macrochir. It took until the 1970s for breeders to take notice of the zootechnical performance of Oreochromis niloticus and its hybrids with various neighbouring species, as they far outclassed that of most other tilapias. It was also during this time that other species with fish culture potential began to be identified: O. aureus, O. andersonii, Sarotherodon melanotheron, the African sharptooth catfish (Clarias gariepinus), the African boneytongue (Heterotis niloticus) andthealien common carp (Cyprinus carpio).

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Extrait du texte

Despite massive aid to promote fish farming in Africa to mirror the Asian example, results were disappointing. In 2013, estimated aquaculture production was only 1.4 million tonnes for sub-Saharan Africa whereas global production stood at 66.6 million tonnes (FAO, 2014).

Following the FAO report (FAO, 2014) the sub-Saharan Africa region continues to be a minor player in aquaculture despite its natural potential. Even aquaculture of tilapia, which is native to the continent, has not developed significantly. Nigeria leads in the region, with reported production of 278,000 tonnes of catfish, tilapia and other freshwater fishes (source: FishStat Plus). In North Africa, Egypt is by far the dominant country in terms of production (providing 943,000 tonnes) and is now the second biggest tilapia producer after China and the world’s top producer of mullets.

Although it is very difficult to obtain reliable figures for actual production, in a context where the trade of aquatic products is often ...

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