SENEGAL – Senegal is gearing up for a significant boost in its aquaculture sector with the planned establishment of a state-of-the-art development center dedicated to aquaculture in Ndiaganiao, located in the Thiès region.

Tening Sène, the General Director of the National Aquaculture Agency (ANA), revealed the development, highlighting the government’s commitment to expanding the aquaculture industry.

The aquaculture center, set to become operational in 2024, will represent a substantial investment of 481 million CFA francs (US$773,500).

It is designed to comprise various facilities, including a fry production hatchery, fish pre-growing and grow-out ponds, an administrative building, a work site for sorting fish, a processing center, and a training center focusing on fish farming techniques.

According to Ms Sène, the project’s main goal is to produce two key fish species, tilapia and catfish, with an anticipated annual yield of more than 436 tonnes of fish.

“The initiative is part of the broader Natural Resources Management Project in Senegal (PGRNS), with the aquaculture component being financially supported to the tune of 6 billion CFA francs (approximately $9.6 million),” she noted.

“The project will be executed by ANA in eight regions across the country, including Saint Louis, Fatick, Sédhiou, Thiès, Louga, Dakar, Tambacounda, and Kolda.”

In its new roadmap outline, Senegal’s aquaculture sector has set ambitious targets aiming to increase local aquaculture production to 68,000 tonnes by 2032, a substantial increase from the current level of around 1,600 tonnes.

According to data from USDA, fish holds a special place in Senegal, with the country boasting the highest level of fish consumption per capita in West Africa.

However, despite its rich coastal resources, aquaculture has historically played a minor role in the country’s fish supply.

The data revealed that the fisheries sector accounts for 3.2% of the country’s GDP, 10.2% of exports, and generating $400 million in value in 2021. Furthermore, the sector employs over 600,000 people.

While the government has provided significant support to boost the aquaculture sector, challenges remain.

The Ministry of Fisheries, through ANA, has developed a national strategic plan for aquaculture development but faces resource constraints for effective implementation.

To support private producers, the government acquired 200 metric tons of fish feed in 2021 for fingerling production.

However, meeting production objectives has been hindered by the lack of quality fish feed.