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Sustainable Aquaculture Research Networks in Sub Saharan Africa

Final Report Summary - SARNISSA (Sustainable Aquaculture Research Networks in Sub Saharan Africa)

Executive summary:

The EC funded FP7 SARNISSA network project began in February 2008 aiming to address one of the key recognised constraints holding back the development of aquaculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), namely the lack of access to relevant focussed information and communication in order to significantly increase aquaculture production for the wide range of stakeholders involved across the continent and further afield. The project consortium was set up with a balance of African, European, American and Asian interdisciplinary expertise and experience who throughout the 39 month duration jelled together to develop a unique online based network of, by May 2011, over 1800 individuals (by May 2012 more than 2000 members) joined together across borders and languages, contributing and sharing together information, contacts, publications and much more towards increasing SSA aquaculture production in a sustainable manner.

By the end of the third year SARNISSA had built up its main website into a unique comprehensive repository of information, publications (project generated and other), contact lists for African fish farms and commercial suppliers, African Research Institutes and organisations, videos, employment and funding opportunities, African aquaculture media news and much more. This website allied to two (English and French) SARNISSA African aquaculture email for a on which individuals could register as members for free. It soon started to enjoy an increasing number of visitors joining from all sectors. This increasing database of members and frequent requests, discussions and information exchange on the email for a allowed SARNISSA to identify key promising individuals or organisations with whom they then went on to interact with in three main ways:

1) A portfolio of user friendly, illustrated case studies highlighting the successes and failures of African aquaculture development was developed by identifying and then working with SARNISSA members as co-authors. These were often younger, upcoming researchers and commercial persons for many of whom, this was their first writing and publishing experience. By the end of the project (May 2011), a portfolio of 35 Case studies had been commissioned and disseminated throughout the SARNISSA websites and email for a to an audience of thousands across the continent and internationally.
2) Development of potential research and other collaborations with promising key stakeholders /members. These were again identified through the database as well as the networking and information exchange on the for a. By the end of the third year, the partners had helped to set up and get funded on a number of research, commercial and other collaborations across Sub-Saharan Africa including Freshwater Macrobrachium culture in Cameroon, Aquashops in Western Kenya, COMHAFAT Africa's first Commercial Aquaculture Symposium in Gabon, and another ECFP7 project PROINSECT in Ghana. It should also be noted that there was a number of commercial collaborations resulting from SARNISSA including European, Turkish and Asian companies getting contracts for equipment and service supply in Sub-Saharan Africa as the aquaculture sector begins to grow. SARNISSA also supported and provided a resource base for a number of African, European, US and Asian under- and postgraduates in their different study areas often connecting them with other researchers in the same field and end users.
3) The project worked at Policy level, with many policy members interacting regularly on the email for a often for the first time with such a wide range of stakeholders, through a series of online E for a, attendance at major African aquaculture policy level meetings and then formulation of a set of bilingual Policy briefs for Sub-Saharan African aquaculture which were disseminated widely throughout the network.

SARNISSA also developed its online coverage through increasing the content and developing the CABI online Aquaculture Compendium which was made available free to all registered members. In the first year, it carried out an Asian study tour where the three African partners travelled for one month to view the aquaculture sectors of Thailand, Bangladesh and Nepal, particularly focusing on commercial hatcheries. During the second year, it set up and developed its increasingly popular Facebook site which opened up SARNISSA to a different audience of mainly younger students/researchers and also through a SARNISSA Twitter feed which gave further access to the increasing number of mobile phone users across the continent.

By the end of the project's EC funding. SARNISSA had really developed from a small online network into a continent wide/international 'Community of Practice' which has reached a 'critical mass' of registered members (over 2 000 by May 2012) which has allowed it to continue growing even after project funding finished. Impact from SARNISSA can be seen and measured.

In terms of its future, different potential organisational plans and structures are being examined by the coordinators in terms of either further funding or moving towards a more self-sustaining income-generating organisation with potential commercial sponsorships and online advertising. Time will tell which the road will be that SARNISSA takes. However, from its humble beginnings on, in three and half years it has become a major network benefitting and bringing together thousands of African and other individuals across a range of disciplines and sectors in the growing African aquaculture sector.

Project Results:


The SARNISSA project was organised and divided up into six dedicated sections or Work Packages (WPs) with specific partners having responsibilities for coordinating individual WPs. In terms of timescale the WP1 Initiation phase (starting February 1st 2008) covered all of the project start-up activities in the first 6 months after which WP 2, 3, 4 and 5 began and continued to the end of the project (30 April 2011). In terms of on the ground regional coverage, SARNISSA operated three Regional Centres with dedicated partners:

- West Africa: Dr Victor Pouomogne IRAD Cameroon
- Southern Africa: Prof Emmanuel Kaunda Bunda College Malawi
- East Africa: Prof Charles Ngugi Kenyatta Univ/now Fisheries Dept Kenya - Subcontractor

In terms of expected activities, results and outputs of the project, the original EC contract included a set of deliverables (activities or outputs) which were agreed and then carried out during the project. It should be noted as the project progressed, it 'reacted ' flexibly to its findings by planning, setting up and then carrying out a significant number of other extra activities and outputs which were not in the original contract and which further benefited the registered members/stakeholders and also added further value to the project.

Note the project had a three-month extension to 39 months duration and also that throughout this report to download from any of the links on the main site you need to be registered and then logged-in. Registration on is free. For more details please contact Will Leschen

Work Package 1 - Initiation Phase: Results and Outputs:

WP Co-ordinator: UOS


In order to raise awareness of SARNISSA right from the start, the bi-lingual project website was set up by April 2008 which then began, through partners/stakeholder interactions, both online and by personal contact, meetings, workshops, conferences etc, to steadily increase its content by the end of the first year, to be a comprehensive repository of information, links, publications, video links, news, and opportunities related to African aquaculture research and development. The average monthly hits for the site increased from 247 in April 2008 to 1 290 per month by January 2009 and by May 2012 over 3 400 per month.

The site was developed and regularly updated by William Leschen (UOS English content) and Lionel Dabaddie (CIRAD French content) so that by the end of WP1 the following page links and categories were available to all registered members noting that each contained both French and English language content:

- Home Page - About the project - Project Partners - Partners Forum African Aquaculture email forum
- Video links - Latest Material (publications) for Aquaculture Compendium including SARNISSA Case Studies
- African fish farms/farmers + commercial service providers - African and International Research Organizations Research and Employment Opportunities - Latest Media: African Aquaculture in the News - Project Publications
- Meetings and Conferences - Free Access to Online Aquaculture Journals PhD and MSc students page - Photo forum

Stakeholder/Members Database

The first 6 months of the project concentrated on developing a Stakeholder/Members Database of individuals involved in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) aquaculture research and development by offering people a free Registration to the SARNISSA network via the website. The database was initiated using the 8 partners own contacts and past experience and steadily grew in number from 588 in April 2008 to 891 individuals by February 2009 (and then by May 2012 over 2 000). This list and the individuals therein formed the cornerstone of the project and are the basis of developing communication links and thus sustainable networks across Africa and internationally.

Email discussion alongside the website the project also set up two African aquaculture email discussion for a (French and English) by August 2008 through which all project stakeholders were linked. These for a promulgated information sharing and the facilitation of new contacts and potential collaborations on a daily basis, with SARNISSA regularly translating and sharing relevant or important messages between French and English for a. It is interesting during the first year to see how few previous cross-over there has been in the past between Francophone and English stakeholders within African aquaculture development, even individuals in neighbouring countries.

East African Centre

At the end of the first 6 months, by August 2008, Professor Charles Ngugi of Moa University, Kenya was appointed as the regional subcontractor to set up and maintain our East African regional network, this alongside the southern African Centre partner Prof. Emmanuel Kaunda of Bunda College, Malawi, and the West African Centre Dr Victor Pouomogne of IRAD Cameroon.

The Aquaculture Compendium (AC)

A review of the existing version of the Aquaculture Compendium (AC - CABI's online encyclopaedic repository of aquaculture publications) was carried out by all project partners in terms of its content, format, and user friendly use and report with recommendations for its modification and improvement produced. From this CABI developed a new more user friendly version of the AC which was made available to SARNISSA members on January 2010. CABI gave a free access login for the AC for all registered SARNISSA members to run for the duration of the project.

By August 1st, 2008, the first 6 months initiation phase had run well and had put all the partners well in place to go and develop the next activities and outputs of the project.

Work Package 2 - Information Collection Results and Outputs

WP Co-ordinator: CABI

This work package was basically divided into three main areas of work:
1) The production of new SARNISSA project generated content publications. These were primarily African aquaculture related Case Study publications targeted at providing user friendly, relevant information to a wide range of users, ultimately with the aim of relating research, commercial and lessons learned to end users. These and other extra project publications can be accessed at:
2) The collection of a wide range of existing publications, videos, media news and materials related to African aquaculture and making them available to all registered members on the main SARNISSA website Publications page
3) Updating of the structure and content of the Aquaculture Compendium

Project Generated Content: Case Studies

Initially through interactions on the SARNISSA email for a key potential individual authors and topics suitable for commissioning user friendly, illustrated case studies were identified. These individuals -often young African researchers or commercial sector employees- were assisted by SARNISSA in organising the necessary field work, and then editing the written pieces; EUR 300 were paid to each of the case study authors on completion. CIRAD had special responsibilities for Francophone case studies whilst WFC for the English language case studies. Where possible the project had the objective to encourage young African, up and coming researchers and commercial sector individuals to write such case studies. For a number of the young African authors it was the first time their work had been published.

By the end of the project (May 2011) a portfolio of 35 case studies were produced in English and French ranging from extensive to intensive aquaculture production systems and from large to small-scale, as well as institutional and policy context on national aquaculture strategies for example.

Despite some difficulties, the completed case studies have proved to be very popular and useful components of the SARNISSA outputs and are repeatedly downloaded and will continued to be downloaded in the future from the SARNISSA website. They were singled out to be mentioned positively in February 2010 by Sloans Chimatiro, Senior Fisheries Advisor, of NEPAD and also John Moehl, FAO Regional Office for Africa.

Case studies: Completed and published by May 2011

Note: to download this type of studies you need to be registered and logged in to the site

Non Case Study SARNISSA Project Publications

A range of SARNISSA's other project publications can be downloaded from

World Fish Centre: Extra publications made available to SARNISSA members

In August 2010 the WFC partner used some of their remaining available budget for WP2 which was originally to be used for further case studies, for the purchase of five popular titles from Pisces Press UK including A Fish Hatchery Manual For Africa, Tilapia Feeds and Feeding , and Warm Water integrated Aquaculture. The publishers Pisces Press were then approached by UOS and agreed to give a 30% discount on an order for these books 50 X copies of each title were purchased and since November 2010 these have been available for purchase (at 30% reduced rate) for any SARNISSA members. The income from the sale of these books is presently being kept by the UOS co-ordinators and will be used for helping towards specific SARNISSA costs after the end of the EC funding period.

Regular Publications Updates Available on and new SARNISSA Facebook site

Throughout the project UOS has maintained regular updates of publications to the SARNISSA main website and then by Month 25 February 2010 also on the newly opened SARNISSA Facebook site

As well as project publications, reports documents, papers from peer reviewed journals and pdfs of presentations these have also included a number of Masters and PhD theses from African students many of whom are SARNISSA members.

Updating of the Aquaculture Compendium

As mentioned for WP1 the Aquaculture Compendium underwent significant development under the SARNISSA project. By month 25 two new interfaces were built; and an editing and user interface. Dr Gareth Richards (CABI) was responsible throughout SARNISSA for the updating of the AC with new content and also for providing customer support for members in using the AC most effectively

SARNISSA Videos Available at

It was recognised that online videos are becoming an increasingly important vehicle for disseminating information out to a wide international audience. In this respect the aquaculture sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is no different with projects, donors, investors, commercial companies, researchers, and increasingly news media using online videos to publicise and network their work, research or products. The portfolio of SARNISSA videos produced by the project are highlighted on the main SARNISSA website and the SARNISSA Facebook page. They are hosted on publicly accessible video hosting sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Metacafe etc meaning they are accessible to the general public anywhere although depending on their internet connection speed.

Work Package 3 - Development of Research Platform: Results and Outputs

WP Co-ordinators: WFC and CIRAD

This work package aimed to initiate and nurture research, commercial and other initiatives among stakeholders and registered members, often from across borders and across languages, in order that they begin to collaborate in research and development of African aquaculture, with a particular emphasis on research towards end users.

The first year of the project involved the steady growth and development of the members/stakeholders database of those registering on the SARNISSA website and subscribing to the French and English language SARNISSA email for a. Through the increasingly frequent postings and discussions on these email for a WFC CIRAD and the other SARNISSA partners gradually became aware of and then identified some of those key individuals, organisations, projects, companies, researchers who showed promise and that 'on the ground' were actually contributing to developing aquaculture production or aquaculture research in their own situations. Once these individuals were identified then where appropriate, SARNISSA partners endeavoured to collaborate and help them to set up further research and also commercial activities often associated with successfully obtaining funding or further investment.

Partners, and in fact all registered members are continually collecting contacts and related information from each other - from the daily new inclusions on the SARNISSA email for a, website and Facebook sites. This valuable information collection and communication i.e. 'The birth of a Network of Practitioners' made it relatively straightforward for SARNISSA to identify & match those who could work together for their own mutual benefits.

All participants in the Projects listed below are members of SARNISSA which facilitated the development of the initial contacts and then development of the particular proposals or work activities. CIRAD and WFC have been leading work streams, as described below, with other major activities including stakeholder workshops and production of relevant project publications. The stakeholder database is updated with new members and divisions into research and other activity groupings.

The stakeholder database has been steadily increasing with between 15-40 new stakeholders joining each month over 3 years of the project. As at the end of August 2011 there were 1,859 members taking part in SARNISSA. These join one or both (English & French language) email for a, and get access to all content on the project website and AC.

Within the database there is a particular strength in numbers of researchers (incorporating those from government, business, universities and NGOs), as well as many government employees. Fish farmers and prospective fish farmers are now becoming increasingly prominent as access to the internet across the continent develops to now in most cases District level internet cafes and gradually decreasing hourly rates for internet access. This has actually been echoed by June 2011with over 1,000 registered members on the SARNISSA daily updated Facebook site - many of these being in the younger 18-30 age group range.

It should be added that this stakeholders/ members database as an outcome and output from the 3 years project is a unique and extremely valuable achievement and resource for the future. Since February 2008 from an initial 480 members, this ' Address Book of African Aquaculture ' has now grown up to over 2000 individuals by May 2012.

It is interesting to compare the SARNISSA website geographical stats of hit rates and users - in terms of African stakeholders countries like Nigeria , S Africa, Ghana and Kenya are high in both (reflecting their relative higher positions in Sub-Saharan African aquaculture production) whilst Senegal and Cote D'Ivoire have very high hit rates on the website but relatively low numbers of registered stakeholders - interesting but not clear to understand the reasons why - noting the latter are two francophone countries. Also pertinent to know that India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Thailand having significant numbers of registered members, these S Asian countries - particularly India - also featuring strongly in the website hits and their commercial companies writing in to the email forum.

Project Research setting up research platforms for development

It has been CIRAD and Worldfish Center partners who have been the main drivers for these collaborations. However throughout the 39 months of the project all of the other partners have helped to develop particular research and commercial collaborations, some of which have obtained funding from sources external to the SARNISSA project.


Under SARNISSA (WP3), CIRAD has played the role of facilitator in setting up two projects (PARRUR & WECARD) - a third is outstanding-, especially in the construction of Research collective. The project manager is a Southern institution that is responsible for project management.

WFC Research Platforms

At the onset of SARNISSA WorldFish regarded the elaboration and support to the successful development of funded research collaborations as the single most important aspect of the SARNISSA project in terms of lasting contributions to African aquaculture. Over the three years a series of stakeholders workshops in Cameroon, Malawi and DR Congo were supported by the project. Extensive dialogue and assistance in the identification of fundable research and the elaboration of concept notes and proposals, was facilitated by SARNISSA partners with funding guides and proposal writing guidelines made available to all members via the main SARNISSA website Project Publications page. Over the three years of the project WFC concentrated on developing 3 separate research collaborations:
1) Macrobrachium vollenhovenii Cameroon
2) Indigenous Tilapias for Aquaculture in southern Africa
3) Peri-urban Aquaculture in DR Congo


A linkage has been established with a commercial Zambian farm named (Aqua Farms, Kafue), the managers of which visited AIT to see the tilapia hatchery system and purchased broodstock and some equipment with a view to expanding their farm. The farm has requested for technical support later this year.

Dr R Bhujel our SARNISSA Asian partner has provided a lot of information about Asian aquaculture from time to time to the SARNISSA members, highlighting successful case studies / projects in various countries of Asia. Whenever, necessary, information was provided to the farmers or stakeholders whenever questions were asked on the email for a regarding the Asian farming methods and related topics.

As a result of communication through SARNISSA, various people have inquired and then taken up academic degrees, internships and trainings in Thailand e.g. Peter Marangu, from Kenya completed training at AIT Bangkok on ‘Mass Tilapia Fry Production and Hatchery Technique Course ' in June, 2011. This course now due to popular demand is being held at AIT every three months with a number of persons attending from Sub-Saharan Africa after hearing about the coursed advertised on the SARNISSA web and Facebook sites. Another Mozambican SARNISSA member and tilapia farm and hatchery Xibaha Limitada also sent two of their staff for the hatchery training course at AIT. Also by February 2010 Dr Bhujel set up an international internship programme where for example other Africans either working in research or commercial sectors can come to work on commercial fish farms and hatcheries in Thailand. This is a key mechanism for transferring knowledge about commercial scale monosex tilapia production to young Africans who can then implement this in their own countries. Developing on from this Will Leschen initiated working internships through SARNISSA contacts on commercial hatcheries and farms in Africa - in Benin, Kenya and Egypt.

Bunda Malawi

In 2009, two key staff of SARNISSA, Professor E.K.W. Kaunda and Dr. J. Kang'ombe from Bunda College participated in the 9th biennial conference for Association for Aquaculture in Southern Africa (AASA) in Namibia in 2009. Following this meeting, in September 2011, Bunda College hosted the 10th AASA biennial conference 'Aqua Africa 2011: Aquaculture for a growing continent' in Malawi, the first time this conference had been held outside South Africa or Namibia.

IRAD Cameroon

Many research proposals could be identified through the AWG (Aquaculture Working Group) and Afri-Fishnet with PAF-NEPAD support. A project was co-submitted with Bunda College and Canadian colleagues for funding by IDRC; the first proposal was rejected, and IRAD is still waiting the outcomes of the second one (submitted March 2011). The proposal included topics on extruded fish feed, and on quality fish seeds. Another proposal led by World Vision with Bunda College and IRAD as partners were short-listed under PAEPERD criteria and is currently under improvement.

IRAD also pursued investigations on fish feed and improving water retention in small scale pond systems. Four graduate students from Cameroon and Gabon conducted on-station and on-farm investigations focusing on aquaculture seed and feed.


As SARNISSA has steadily increased its members stakeholder base and variety of individual members in different sectors Stirling firstly identified and then contacted particular individuals and institutions they saw as promising and then together developed particular research and development proposals to apply for funding. Although not all of these came off, the following have developed over three years to demonstrate measurable impacts.

Firstly the DFID Research into Use Funded Aquashops Project in Western Kenya. Stirling and Kenyatta University through initial contacts with Farm Africa and Imani Business Developments has seen the development and setting up in 18 months of 6 independent, standalone Aquashop businesses in district centres in W Kenya with the shops supplying aquaculture equipment, inputs and information to the increasing number of local fish farmers in the area. UOS and Kenyatta were responsible for providing the information publications, handbooks, manuals etc which are available now in each of the shops. See Kenyatta University Aquashops video at .

Secondly again through initial introductions on SARNISSA Stirling developed a collaborative relationship with COMHAFAT/ATLAFCO and associated Japanese JICA funding which resulted in UOS organising the first Commercial Aquaculture Symposium in Sub-Saharan Africa in Gabon in May 2011. This was attended by the cream of the commercial (mainly freshwater) aquaculture sector in Africa with presentations been shared with a range of new potential producers, existing private sector fish farmers, research, government and market sectors. Plans are now afoot to follow this up with an equivalent Potential for Commercial Mariculture for Sub-Saharan workshop in Senegal in 2012. Concrete impacts from the Gabon workshop already include Nigerian commercial fish farmers being awarded commercial contracts in several west African countries to help set up or modernise Tilapia and Clarias hatcheries.

UOS through SARNISSA contacts has also secured a partnership on a further EC funded FP7 project PROINSECT (beginning Feb 2013) which will be working together with two SARNISSA members in Ghana, one an Aquaculture development NGO, the other a commercial fish farming company (SME). Finally Stirling Aquaculture, the commercial consultancy arm of the Institute of Aquaculture, through initial contacts made on SARNISSA has also been involved in developing a commercial Clarias farm and hatchery in Uganda along with a Dutch based commercial business and investment development consultancy Business Minds. Other than the commercial development of the farm Stirling also sent one of its Nigerian Masters Aquaculture students to the farm for two months between March - April 2011 to carry out his thesis project.

It is important to also recognise the increasing trend in Sub-Saharan Africa to develop aquaculture on a commercial business basis independently of scale rather than the previous donor project funded approach of subsidising smallholder often subsistence aquaculture often en masse in specific regions or districts.

Work Package 4 - Outreach including impact evaluation and dissemination

WP Co-ordinators: AIT, UOS

This work package was focused on the transfer of knowledge towards and among the aquaculture sector in SSA. Project objectives were initially focused on knowledge transfer from Asia and on the maximisation of dissemination and utilisation of the AC and project outputs in SSA.

Key Results and Outputs in WP4

- SARNISSA online discussion forum summary documents
- Extruded/floating fish feed. Manufacture, equipment, production, cost considerations?: Illustrated Summary of SARNISSA Forum Discussions Nov-December 2009
- Throwing Stones… The Future of African Aquaculture. Illustrated SARNISSA publication and collation of messages on the SARNISSA African Aquaculture Email Forum June 2010
- African Aquaculture in the Media summary updates. * CIRAD and UOS partners collated together all the regular African aquaculture media news put up on the SARNISSA website into monthly summaries which were then sent out to all registered members on the SARNISSA email forum e.g. May 2010: Review of African Aquaculture in the media
- Commercial Suppliers and Services Trade Directories - Three regional Aquaculture Trade Directories compiled for East, West and Southern Africa. Providing contacts and details for commercial input and service suppliers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Now regularly downloaded from main SARNISSA site by existing and also new potential fish farmers.

E-mail For a

With all stakeholders joining SARNISSA gaining access to the for a, their use has continued to rise as more stakeholders join. This has resulted in a myriad of activities and impacts: supporting new or potential aquaculture producers, facilitating knowledge sharing and problem solving, forming interdisciplinary research networks, making business contacts, and disseminating employment, research and training opportunities.

Where considered appropriate and beneficial, messages from one language forum are translated and then posted onto the other forum, and as a result perhaps for the first time in African aquaculture development there is a regular vehicle and network for cross over and communication between the Francophone and Anglophone sectors.

The two for a have also been very good indicators and evaluation tools for the project, in keeping abreast of the growing number of registered members and how (or not ) SARNISSA was benefitting them in different services and benefits offered.

Beneficiaries of the SARNISSA Email For a

There have been many examples of these throughout the three years: (a European (UK) company manufacturing and selling commercial fish stunning harvest equipment trialling it with Lake Harvest tilapia farmer Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe), a Turkish commercial cage and aquaculture equipment supplying company selling their cages to a commercial fish farmer in Ghana (both through initial contact and links made on SARNISSA). A more recent one being related to the announcement and then discussion of the WSSV (White Spot Syndrome virus) found in November 2011 in marine shrimp in Mozambique. In the ensuing discussions which were initiated by the OIE a wide range of interested persons from the commercial, research, government and markets sectors have been posting in and discussing the implications of this for commercial cultured shrimp in the region on the forum , with the OIE representative then actually inviting one of the other SARNISSA members to travel to Mozambique as a member of the OIE 'Expert Team' to evaluate the disease.

Please note SARNISSA French membership is in terms of numbers 32% of the English speaking membership as of May 2011

Project website:

The website has continually developed and increased its content throughout the three year project period including project publications, relevant media updates, listings of aquaculture businesses, and networking pages. Translation and dissemination of media stories and other publications on the website has been particularly effective in opening up the latest news in Francophone countries to the Anglophone audience and vice versa - very much a first for African aquaculture. The usage of the website has been regularly monitored and evaluated by UOS using Google Analytics, the information from which was fed back to SARNISSA partners on a monthly basis, and also to SARNISSA members in each 6 monthly SARNISSA newsletter.

The web monitoring tool has been very useful in terms of project management and assessing and allocating project resources in terms of further developing SARNISSA coverage and networks in particular countries. We would expect European and US users to dominate due to higher computer and online access, however it is interesting to see strong African usership of certain countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana which really reflects the current powerhouses in Sub-Saharan African aquaculture production. The cities users’ distribution table above shows prominent clustering of users particularly in West and East Africa, also within western Europe.

Facebook and Twitter

Facebook is increasingly being used by organisations, commercial companies and networks in order to disseminate out themselves about their organisations to a much wider audience. In the space of only 15 months SARNISSA Facebook went from 0 to over 1200 'Followers'. The site was (and still is) updated daily with media news, publications, video links, jobs, funding opportunities and much more. Within this process of information sharing, networking runs alongside and often new contacts are made across borders and languages. It has proved a highly functional tool for disseminating information extremely quickly and in a very accessible way. SARNISSA's Facebook page has increased in popularity and usage throughout and beyond the final project period especially to a younger research based audience.

Twitter is linked to Facebook so that messages are interchangeable between them and is some stakeholders preferred way to be alerted to information.

Twitter is also very powerful as it has a Search facility which allows you to search for example the word 'Tilapia'. And it will then find all of the messages on either Facebook or Twitter that day (or earlier) mentioning the word Tilapia and provides a URL link to them. As a result of this it opens up a vast further information resource from which we have already been able to source African aquaculture related information (often up to date media or press releases, videos or publications) which we then share out on the SARNISSA websites and also through the SARNISSA email for a. It should also be noted that although at present a relatively small number of members use SMART and I phones to access internet and more specifically SARNISSA on Facebook and Twitter, their use is steadily increasing amongst both African and international members and in the future will no doubt be an extremely powerful tool for developing aquaculture further across the continent - especially in terms of commercial business marketing and post harvest value chains as well as often being the internet access of choice particularly for younger students and researchers.

Training Workshops

SARNISSA partners have also delivered a number of workshops throughout the project.

Report on impact of Aquaculture Compendium associated research networks on final users

A user survey was carried out on the use of the online Aquaculture Compendium in Year 3 through the SARNISSA email forum. The sample size of stakeholders choosing to complete the questionnaire was small, which may also have implications on how widely the AC is actually regularly used by SARNISSA members.

Summary of key findings:

- The updated AC was appreciated by the majority (twelve out of 15) of the respondents who were able to easily search and find the information they required.
- The full-text articles were particularly useful and many respondents.
- Respondents recommended that the AC be widely promoted among aquaculture practitioners, who would benefit from the useful information it contains. However, acquisitions methods/subscription mechanisms will have to be reviewed as only five of 15 respondents were willing to pay to access it. Most of the respondents who were willing to pay for access recommended an annual subscription price of a maximum of USD 50.

Commercial Aquaculture Suppliers and Service Providers Trade Directories

Following from the popularity of the SARNISSA web page listing aquaculture producers, supplier and other professionals in the sector it was decided to collate and publish three regional trade directories, covering SSA, for the aquaculture sector. The first versions have been published, one covering southern Africa, one covering eastern Africa, and one covering western Africa which is published in both French and English. Any relevant business or service supplier can be listed upon request at no charge to them, and new business stakeholders joining SARNISSA are invited to be included. We have indicated that after the first year there will be the possibility that companies and organisations listed in the directories will have to pay a fee. Users of these directories have the opportunity to feed back to SARNISSA on entrants who may have provided poor service. These are available for download here

Working Internships Set up Through SARNISSA Deliverable

Following communications and expressed demand in Year 3 on the SARNISSA email forum UOS, AIT and the Kenyatta partner set up and implemented a number of Hands on Practical working internships for SARNISSA members on commercial fish farms or hatcheries in Benin, Kenya, Egypt and Thailand. These were all self-funded and came from significant demand mainly from private sector entrepreneurial individuals who wished to gain practical hands on experience in commercial fish hatchery skills and management. A Nigerian went to work in Benin, a Tanzanian in Thailand and a Ugandan in Egypt. Each time they spent a minimum of 3 weeks working 9-5 alongside commercial farm and hatchery staff learning the necessary practical skills.

Work Package 5 - Policy

WP Co-ordinators: ETC

Main partners: UOS, WFC, CIRAD

Beginning with: In Country Aquaculture Status and Policy Reviews

Through the build up of the members database over the 3 years of the project, SARNISSA collected and began to interact over the email for a and then through personal email with particular policy level actors in many different countries across the African continent. In year 1 through these communications, ETC identified 10 potential authors for writing ten 'In country Aquaculture Status and Policy Review Reports'. These authors were chosen carefully, looking for 'independent' individuals who could write analytical reviews without any institutional or governmental bias. There then followed a process of editing and then finally publishing these reviews involving ETC, UOS , WFC, and CIRAD for the francophone countries on the SARNISSA website. These reviews have since been widely downloaded and quoted since being made available on the SARNISSA website.

Policy Briefs - Developing national and international capacity in SSA aquaculture research

The process of then formulating Sub-Saharan African Policy Briefs was based on an analysis of the 10 in-country policy reviews elaborated above, of the results of WP 2 (case studies) and WP3 and of key and of recent international literature on aquaculture, successes and failures, lessons learnt, good practices etc. This provided an overview of key topics & messages to be addressed in the aquaculture policy briefs. Four 4-page draft Policy Briefs were elaborated by ETC for sharing amongst & discussion with SARNISSA partners & a group of end-users of the Briefs. The briefs were then formatted into a colourful, user friendly design & illustrated with images from various SSA countries.

Discussion and validation of the draft Policy Briefs

The draft Policy Briefs were presented at the Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture, CAMFA (Banjul, Gambia, September 2010) - see further below. The draft briefs were also shared amongst SARNISSA project partners and their review and observations for improvement, clarification of issues, identification of key policy messages and illustration of messages with some good practice examples were taken into account in developing a second modified draft of the briefs.

These drafts of the briefs were then circulated among a selected group of 18 senior aquaculture officers and technical staff responsible for aquaculture programme and policy making across Sub-Saharan Africa with a specific questionnaire to harvest specific feedback on the content of the briefs; their relevance and usefulness, their style, lay-out and design.

All comments & observations made by the specialist group were summarised and circulated again in an iterative process. Key issues were identified to then be discussed in the two-week E-Consultation Policy Workshop in order to get further consensus on proposed modifications & further inputs and examples to illustrate specific policy messages. Based on the outputs of this e-consultation, it was decided to summarise the 4 Briefs into 2 final Briefs illustrating the following key messages:

Specific Impacts of this activity included:
- Better focussing of the Kenya national aquaculture strategy that is being developed in terms of better alignment of the overall policy objectives and the types of aquaculture that are being promoted (personal communication Godfrey Moron, Director Fisheries)
- Building on SARNISSA project findings in the formulation of a new aquaculture programme (MARISSA) that has been submitted by ETC to the EC. The need to clarify policy objective (poverty and food security) versus the need to promote specific subsistence versus commercial scale oriented mariculture has been taken into account in programme development. Also the approach for development and validation of policy briefs has been included in the MARISSA project proposal.

Aquaculture Status and Policy Synthesis Overview Report for 10 SSA Countries

Following review and comments by project partners of the 10 in country reviews ETC collated the key findings of each into an overall Sub-Saharan African Aquaculture Policy Review. The report examines the evidence base for the potential of aquaculture development, constraints and success factors, and learning/knowledge transfer in the SSA aquaculture sector before drawing lessons for policymakers throughout the region.

Assessment of national aquaculture programmes and policies in Sub-Saharan Africa: SARNISSA synthesis report August 2010. Report summarises main findings from above 10 country reviews, SARNISSA E workshops, a wide range of stakeholders as well as variety of other sources within and outside SARNISSA project

Review of Aquaculture Development and Policies in Asia; Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand

Using a similar format 'A Review of Aquaculture Development and Policies in Asia; Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand' was also written by the AIT partner and made available through the SARNISSA webpage. A set of recommendations have been made for each of the three countries which should also be useful for SSA countries with similar status and conditions. This review also highlights salient features of aquaculture development and how their policies have helped develop aquaculture in South Asia into a global aquaculture producer playing significant roles in achieving food security, and generating income and employment which should be valuable for the policy makers and development agencies to accelerate the current pace of Aquaculture development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

A Review of Aquaculture Development and Policies in Asia; Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand.

Aimed at Sub-Saharan Africa

E Policy Workshops

Both IRAD and Bunda carried out 1 X 2 French and also English language E Policy workshops.

These November 2010 e-workshops involving national aquaculture fisheries dept directors resulted in editing policy briefs on the 2 following topics: 'Food for thought'; and 'Building blocks'.

Presentations and Conferences on Policy

The SARNISSA partners ETC, UOS and BUNDA participated in the Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture, CAMFA (Banjul, Gambia, September 2010) to promote SARNISSA in the CAMFA meeting, man a SARNISSA stand with SARNISSA posters, publications and videos and organize a SARNISSA Special African Aquaculture Policy session to present and discuss the first draft of the aquaculture policy briefs developed by ETC.

The meeting was attended by Ministers and their technical staff from over 30 African countries, as well as representatives of NGOs, fishery groups and international organizations. The main focus of the conference was on wild fisheries, with aquaculture receiving relatively limited attention in the official programme, however there was a considerable interest in SARNISSA seen by the large number of visitors to the SARNISSA stand and the attendees at the SARNISSA special session.

The SARNISSA session was organised to present SARNISSA's work and specifically the outcomes and outputs on Policy. Feedback on the draft policy briefs was obtained and contacts established as well as suggestions for the further process of validation of the briefs made.

The future….. Of SARNISSA at policy level

By May 2011 at the end of SARNISSA EC funding, 89 stakeholders on the SARNISSA database could be identified as working directly at the policy level. The SARNISSA Email for a have been and continue to be powerful communication mechanisms whereby policy makers can access the experiences and opinions of those practicing and researching aquaculture in SSA and often for the first time the Policy Makers can have an ear and an eye on what is happening in the real African aquaculture world. Also for many at policy level it is the first time they have been able to communicate and share experiences and knowledge with their counterparts in other African countries. This process on arnica has been particularly strong where English speaking and francophone policy makers have for the first time communicated through their messages being translated between the for a. A relevant example of cross over between different countries at this level in the final year 3 was following arnica forum discussions on the promotion of state funded 'Aqua Parks' working successfully in Nigeria, on reading this on SARNISSA Senior members of the Ugandan Fisheries Dept (SARNISSA members) are now including the Aquaparks concept for the first time in their own National Aquaculture strategy.

Work Package 6 - Project Management

WP Co-ordinators: UOS

Main partners: CIRAD WFC

Project Outputs :

Project meetings

Following the Inception meeting in Stirling UK , two annual Project and Planning (P and P) Meetings were held firstly in Yaounde Cameroon and then in Lilonge , Malawi, where project progress was assessed and where necessary the project workplans were modified.

Project newsletters have been published throughout the project on a six monthly basis, The e-mail for a have also been an effective tool for keeping stakeholders informed of project activities and results. This was especially relevant in involving the increasing number of stakeholders/members in a dialogue of what parts of SARNISSA should be continued giving them a voice in the process and a vehicle to express their different opinions. Where possible we also encouraged members to send in their own material and short articles for the newsletters, an offer which was taken up by a number of separate members in Kenya, France, Uganda and Tanzania. After the end of the project daily dissemination of news and contacts has now been largely taken over by the new SARNISSA Facebook site where it is far quicker for UOS to regularly update it daily to the now (May 2012) over 1200 people 'Following' the site.

Changes in project consortium throughout the project

Kenyan sub contractor Professor Charles Ngugi had to leave Moi University in the first year of the project due to political unrest in the country. Despite this he continued to fulfil his duties and commitments to SARNISSA when he moved to Nairobi and to Kenyatta University where he was joined by colleague Victor Motari who also considerably contributed to the project. Towards the end of the project Professor Ngugi got promoted to a senior government position (Under Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries )

In April 2010 Dr Randy Brummett the WFC main PI within SARNISSA left WFC for another post at the World Bank and he was replaced within SARNISSA by Dr Malcolm Beveridge who moved in June 2010 to take up a new position at WFC in Lusaka, Zambia. This constructively benefitted SARNISSA as it allowed us to have a representation in another southern African country, Zambia, where aquaculture has quite a development history. Following on from which a number of beneficial collaborations have occurred through SARNISSA including a visit from the SARNISSA Asian partner Dr Bhujel and subsequent monosex tilapia hatchery training and development within Zambia.

The Future of SARNISSA

As described earlier, the coordinators designed and set up a participatory questionnaire programme about the future of arnica which was sent out to all SARNISSA members via the for a. Following a good response the results were collated and analysed and presented back to the members for further discussions on the for a - the text from which were then put together into a further publication which was sent out to all partners. The outcomes and recommendations from this are already outlined under WP4 of this report.

Right from the beginning of Year 3 - the coordinators were in contact with a number of international organisations regarding potentially funding SARNISSA or parts of SARNISSA once the EC funding had been completed. These included NORAD, World Bank, FAO ANAF, DFID , CRSP, USAID, NEPAD , AU, World Aquaculture Society and Aquaculture Without Frontiers.

Ongoing discussions and communications with ANAF about the future of SARNISSA and it possible merging with ANAF the FAO aquaculture network for Africa, had been going on throughout Year 2 and then into Year 3 with Will Leschen (UOS) attending an ANAF meeting in Jinja , Uganda where the potential merging of the two was discussed.

After a series of email communications during the project CRSP USAID asked us to present SARNISSA to their staff and members at the Asian Fisheries Society meeting in Shanghai in June 2011. We then sent in to them a proposal for funding certain sectors of the SARNISSA network. One area of interest was to develop specific income earning streams for SARNISSA from its websites and other online services. Similarly we had good feedback from the World Bank in Washington US and were invited to put in a funding proposal for again specific parts and services within the SARNISSA network which they were potentially interested in funding. A subsequent proposal including budget was sent to the World Bank in June 2011 which we are also awaiting the results from their evaluation.

We have been having ongoing communications with one other organisation Aquaculture Without Frontiers AWF who are particularly interested in developing the African Aquaculture internship programme already active within SARNISSA especially focussed on hands on practical working internships on commercial fish farms and hatcheries. AWF have suggested that SARNISSA's role would be to identify the particular individuals from its large membership and then arrange for the placements with commercial farms either in Africa or S Asia, whilst AWF would undertake to source the necessary funding (by sponsorship ) from key aquaculture organisations and larger scale businesses.

Potential Impact:


By May 2012 SARNISSA has over 2,000 members with 1,343 of these from 46 African countries; the remaining 660 members are from more than 50 countries on other continents, illustrating that in three and half years SARNISSA although with mainly a Sub-Saharan African focus, has become a truly global network of individuals. By May 2012 the SARNISSA membership was divided up into 1282 (64%) English speaking and 701 (35%) French and 20 (1%) other mainly Portuguese and Spanish speakers.

The range of these stakeholders/members that have been involved and benefited is extremely broad including researchers, commercial producers, hatcheries, policy makers, extension workers, NGOs, traders, markets actors along the value chain e.g. processors, exporters, investors, entrepreneurs, SMEs, consultants, equipment and input suppliers, feed companies, credit institutions, librarians, IT specialists, fish health experts, veterinarians, geographers, sociologists, nutritionists, water engineers, funding organisations, , and the list goes on …….

All of these members are joined by the SARNISSA English and French e-mail discussion for a, averaging more than 50 new messages per week which has continued to be frequented on a daily basis after the project funding finished. These are now daily platforms where problems, solutions and ideas are shared and contacts are made. There are lively daily exchanges and discussions, some of which have been collated and published as illustrated, user friendly documents.

The Way Forward

By the end of Year 3 SARNISSA has developed and evolved into far more than just the originally envisaged network for researchers, rather more into a wider service provision, providing a range of services which are needed and used by a much wider family of individuals. Through a continual daily online participatory process in two languages the increasingly wide range of members have been able to suggest potential outputs and services e.g. the Regional Commercial Aquaculture Suppliers and Services Trade Directories of which some have been developed as new and extra outputs or products from the project.

SARNISSA has been recognised by and works together with FAO, African Union AU, ANAF, Aquaculture Without Frontiers AWF , CAAST NET, AQUAMED, ASEM, CRSP, Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa AASA, Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia Pacific NACA NEPAD, NORAD, GiZ, Organisation International des Epizootics OIE, DFID, Farm Africa, World Aquaculture Society, Voluntary Services Overseas VSO and the World Bank among many other African and international organisations and networks. More specifically, SARNISSA has attracted interest from CRSP, World Bank, Aquaculture Without Frontiers and ANAF with regards to funding SARNISSA and elements of its work in the future.

The Working Internships arranged through SARNISSA in Year 3 are now producing concrete Nigerian fish farm manager after working on 3 week internship at Beninois commercial clarias hatchery has returned to his own country and farm to have set up and now run his own catfish hatchery which supplies all his fingerling needs as well as producing extra which he now sells. Commercial companies are now getting contracts to supply equipment and services into Sub-Saharan Africa through SARNISSA e.g. Turkish Cage and Equipment supplier with contract to supply major Ghanaian tilapia producer. Researchers through linkages on SARNISSA are forming new research and also commercial collaborations with individuals and organisations in other countries e.g. South African seacucumber/abalone researcher now being asked to assess feasibility of seacucumber production and value chain in Senegal. And for commercial producers in Africa they are also forming beneficial links and collaborations with S Asian aquaculture sector through SARNISSA e.g. Mozambican commercial tilapia hatchery sending its staff for training in tilapia fry production to Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) specialist courses on Tilapia fry production.

Through promoting information sharing and good practice in aquaculture in Sub-Saharan Africa and working and joining together promising individuals rather than institutions SARNISSA is impacting on a number of the areas addressed by the Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the promotion of gender equality, ensuring environmental sustainability, and in developing global partnerships for development. It is also continuing to operate after the original EC funding has finished more now as a self-sustaining 'Community of Practice' and a provider of key services and benefits to a wide range of now thousands of people working across the whole spectrum of Sub-Saharan African aquaculture development.

Dissemination and Exploitation of Results:

The main project website was the initial and main means of dissemination of SARNISSA and over the 39 months of the project was built up in its content and categorisation to become what is now: a unique and extensive repository of information relevant to thousands working and involved in Sub-Saharan African aquaculture, which is available free of charge, and by June 2011 this website received over 4300 visits per month. As the project progressed this website was quickly supplemented by the two (English and French) online SARNISSA email discussion for a subscribed to by all registered members. These daily used for a soon became effective vehicles for disseminating SARNISSA outputs and publications, directly to the inboxes of thousands of people working in African aquaculture, the for a quickly becoming very effective means for sharing and collecting further information and contacts from outside of the project consortium. They also became (as seen above) a regular port of call for a wide range of SARNISSA members to ask for information or simply discuss and learn about relevant African aquaculture issues. Into year two of the project the opening of the SARNISSA Facebook site soon provided a popular online location for users, particularly the younger 18-35 age group many of whom are aquaculture students and researchers, to access daily updated African aquaculture news, publications , videos , employment and funding opportunities and much more, with by May 2012 over 1200 people who are Following the site. This Facebook site is also linked to SARNISSA on Twitter which allows the increasing number of Sub-Saharan Africans with mobile phones to access daily text messages of SARNISSA Facebook postings. Finally in terms of online dissemination the Aquaculture Compendium was developed throughout the project in its format and also its African aquaculture related content. The CABI partner granted free access to this online encyclopaedic resource to all registered SARNISSA partners throughout the duration of the project and in fact now afterwards.

Although primarily an online now global network SARNISSA also disseminated out its project findings and content through other means including exhibition stands at key conferences and meetings e.g. AASA conference Namibia 2008, and the CAMFA African Fisheries Ministers meeting in the Gambia 2009; presentations on SARNISSA and also distribution of leaflets, fliers, briefs, SARNISSA branded T shirts and USB flash drives at other major meetings and conferences e.g. OIE Regional meeting Namibia 2010, Nairobi Annual Agriculture show 2009 and 2010. Throughout the 3 year project the SARNISSA partners attended and promoted SARNISSA at a wide range of relevant aquaculture related conferences, meetings and workshops:

Presentations and Conferences Attended

These were used by partners throughout the project as vehicles for publicising SARNISSA to a wider audience, with either presentations being given on SARNISSA, promotional stands set up, or simply handing out leaflets, t shirts, flash drives and other promotional materials to raise awareness of the resources available. Networking throughout Africa was an important part of linking potential research and or commercial members to form mutually beneficial collaborations. Following each of these workshops, conferences etc it was distinctly noted by the SARNISSA website and Email forum administrators of the significant increase in new members registering to join SARNISSA. For example in Year 2 of the project the increase in SARNISSA membership as a result of IRAD Cameroon partner Victor Pouomogne's study visits was particularly high in West Africa, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.

List of Websites:

The SARNISSA project being an online Aquaculture Development Platform and Network relied heavily on developing its websites and increasing their appeal and benefits to a wider both African and international audience.

The main site is by the end of the project a large repository of information, publications, contacts, media news, videos, and a lot more for those working in the many different areas related to African aquaculture development.

SARNISSA Facebook site has created further expansion of the network to a wider international audience, especially those in 20 -35 age range including both undergraduate and post graduate and research students. Such online social networks are now increasingly being used by commercial companies for networking and advertising their products and services.

SARNISSA also linked in to Twitter site!/sarnissa.

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