Aquaculture Innovative Techniques Key to Sustainable Blue Economy

Prof. Atsushi Hagiwara delivers his lecture on A case study of fisheries and aquaculture for Kenya’s Blue Economy

Kenya’s fisheries and aquaculture sectors have faced significant challenges in recent years, including overfishing, post-harvest losses, and the effects of climate change. These issues have led to dwindling fish stocks and declining incomes for fishermen and fish farmers.

However, research has indicated that innovative techniques can lead to an upturn in fortunes for a sustainable blue economy and ensure the sustainability of the industry.

A Japanese scholar, Prof. Atsushi Hagiwara of Nagasaki University, has been conducting extensive research at Lake Victoria and Japan to develop sustainable techniques aimed at conserving fish and reducing post-harvest losses to boost Kenya’s blue economy.

One success story is the mass cultivation of rotifers to feed fish larvae and ensure that their metabolic demands are met, thereby improving the survival rate of various fish species to maturity.

Prof. Hagiwara gave a seminar at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, March 15, 2023, where he revealed that he is part of the Lake Victoria Comprehensive Ecosystem and Aquatic Environment Research for Development project.

The project aims to improve fisheries, enhance aquaculture development, and reduce post-harvest losses.

At Lake Victoria, Prof. Hagiwara’s research has focused on addressing the factors responsible for capture fisheries, introducing cage capture technology for carnivorous Nile Perch, and developing aquaculture techniques such as aquaponics to handle post-harvest issues like fish paste processing and freshness control.

A cross-section of the participants during the lecture

He noted that working at Lake Victoria has given him deep insights into the plight of fishermen and provided a first-hand glimpse of the key areas of focus needed to boost aquaculture and improve fish consumption in Kenya.

“During research, we used global positioning systems to track fishermen’s routine while also conducting studies to find out what the fish have been feeding on by studying their stomach contents. We also found out that nutritional information of fish pastes from Lake Victoria are rich in protein, minerals, and fatty acids,” said Prof. Hagiwara.

Prof. Hagiwara praised Africa-ai-Japan for its assistance in human capacity development through short and long-term training, including M.Sc. and Ph.D. research, at the research field and laboratories in Japan for technological transfer.

During the visit of Professor Emeritus at Nagasaki University, Prof. Atsushi Hagiwara, to JKUAT, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi expressed her gratitude for his willingness to deliver the lecture.

She acknowledged that such efforts are vital in promoting internationalization in higher education, where universities such as JKUAT can enhance academic quality, improve research outputs, contribute to both national and international development, and increase institutional reputation.

“Internationalization in higher education can lead to a more inclusive, diverse, and globally engaged academic community that is better equipped to address complex global challenges,” quipped Prof. Ngumi.

The seminar is part of activities lined up to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the joint partnership between Kenya and Japan. The third seminar by Prof. Sakamoto is slated for March 22, titled: ‘Exploiting sorghum, a crop of African origin with cutting edge genome technology.’

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