The Government of Argentina and the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), in association with the St. Kitts & Nevis Marine Resources Division, held a training workshop, the first of its kind in the island, conducted by Argentine expert Gustavo Wicki, from the prestigious South American National Aquaculture Center (CENADAC).
The Triangular Cooperation Project explores the conversion of the parts of the fish that are typically discarded, into safe and nutritious products for the consumption of livestock and fertilizer. The unutilized fish parts could be converted into liquid fish silage with the help of enzymes in the fish itself, as they break it down into smaller pieces, and an added acid, which helps speed up the process while preventing bacterial spoilage. The initiative will also provide a new avenue for the employment of youth and women, while helping to ensure the island’s food security and reduce the food import bill.
The innovative technique brought to Nevis by the Argentine expert can be used as an alternative to corn and soya meal, two ingredients which are currently imported to make local livestock feed. Today, nearly all ingredients from animal feed are imported, meaning that livestock feed prices fluctuate with global markets and can be quite expensive. Apart from increasing food sovereignty, fish silage aims to increase the sustainability of the fish value chain. Attributing value to a product, which is currently wasted, is one of the underlying principles of a circular economy.
Argentine Ambassador to St. Kitts & Nevis, Gustavo Martinez Pandiani, stated that “we brought in our expert from Buenos Aires to work closely with the local fishermen and farmers, and to share with them a self-sustainable technique of using fish waste as a resource. This project is very important because it gives Nevis the opportunity to reduce the wastage, not only by finding ways to use more fish, but also by utilizing the by-products”.
Dr Renata Clarke, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator indicated that “fish silage could also contribute to climate change mitigation as fish waste currently largely ends up at the landfill where it releases methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide within the first two decades of its release and 34 times more potent over a 100 year period.
Currently 25% of the manmade global warming we are experiencing is caused by methane emission. Reduced waste will thus lead to a reduced amount of methane in the atmosphere”. She also stated that the FAO values the partnership and financial support of the Embassy of Argentina on the programme, and remain grateful to Ambassador Pandiani for his keen interest and efforts in making this workshop a reality.