With eyes set on new economic growth poles, aquaculture experts are of the view that opportunities in their field need to be better explored.
For this reason, longstanding commercial aquafarmer Kent Vieira insists that the country needs to pay greater attention to building capacity within the sector by sharing knowledge of the know-hows of the industry.
Vieira describes the prospects as "global" in nature and highly achievable because of some natural advantages.
"Climate wise we can produce year round and so can sustainably and consistently supply markets," Vieira told T&T Guardian and he makes specific reference to the farming of tilapia.
"The potential is real big," he said, however adding that other species such as the catfish-like "swai" also offer opportunities to turn big profits.
"It (swai) is a catfish species but has huge potential as it can be farmed six times more than the rate of tilapia in the same space," Vieira added. He said dwindling ocean fish supplies also point to the need for greater exploitation of inland fish farming resources.
Agricultural scientist, Steve Maximay, said such thinking also makes sound environmental sense. "With the increasing concerns about agrichemicals produced from fossil fuel based operations aquaponics provides a way for spent water from aquaculture operations to be used as the fertiliser for crop production," he said.
"Marine fisheries also currently present challenges related to declining fish stocks, longer distances per fishing expedition and other factors," Maximay told T&T Guardian.
"Fish protein will continue to play a major role in nutrition security," he said. "In terms of valued added, the non-food remnants of fish filleting can be used as fishmeal for animal feed or for composting while the improved technologies for fish skin tanning also makes aquaculture a worthwhile venture."
Vieira is behind an upcoming fish farming training series focusing on tilapia, How to make money in Tilapia Production, which is being hosted on August 18 with sessions on Production and Feed and August 27 looking at Breeding and Reproduction and again on October 1 when there will be sessions on Marketing and Processing.
All sessions will be hosted at Vieira's Freeport operations. Interested persons can get more information by calling 673-3222 or emailing [email protected]farmsltd.com