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Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) Bangladesh

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Published on Aug 6, 2012

Literally, IMTA (Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture) provides by-products, including waste from one aquatic species as inputs (feeds, fertilizers etc.) for another. Farmers in advanced aquaculture countries (e.g. Canada, UK) adopted IMTA combining fed aquaculture (e.g., fish, shrimp) with inorganic extractive (e.g. aquatic plants - seaweed) and organic extractive (e.g. shellfish - oyster, snail) that creates balanced systems for environmental remediation (biomitigation), economic stability (improved production and income) and social acceptability (better management practices). Ideally, IMTA can enhance the total pond yield of biomass that is important for the resource poor farmers in developing countries, like Bangladesh.

Aquaculture is still traditional and semi-intensive practice in Bangladesh, hence, the productivity of pond has not yet gained up to the potential level. This is partly due to monotonous pond based fish culture that undermines the production potential of the different trophic levels of pond which could be utilized by IMTA. Freshwater pond snails (e.g. Viviparus bengalensis) growing in wild habitats, could be cultured to increase pond productivity along with carp (e.g. Indian major carps) polyculture, which is proven to be used as a protein source in fish feeds. In growing aquaculture practices, culture of stinging catfish, Shing (Heteropneustes fossilis) is becoming a high valued commercially important practice in Bangladesh. However, it requires a higher level of protein content in the artificial feed that is expensive. The snail mixed feed has been tested to be used for feeding Shing in cages minimizing artificial feed cost. The multiple systems integrated in the polyculture pond affects water and sediment quality in terms of producing organic and inorganic wastes that could be minimized integrating aquatic plants (e.g. water spinach, Kolmi) for vegetable production. In a research endeavor with IMTA first time in Bangladesh, these three components of fish (carps in ponds, Shing in cage), snail and aquatic plants together have already shown encouraging results in the freshwater ponds of Bangladesh. This research work is currently being carried out by A. S. M. Kibria, PhD Fellow under the supervision of Prof. Dr. M. Mahfujul Haque (Ripon), Department of Aquaculture, Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU), Mymensingh.

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