Asia Project: Nepal

University of Michigan

Title: Advancing Aquaculture Systems in Nepal for more Social and Environmental Sustainability

Theme: Environmental Management for Sustainable Aquatic Resources Use

Lead US University: University of Michigan

Host Country & Partner Institutions:
Nepal: Agriculture and Forestry University, Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Directorate of Fisheries Development

Current Research (2016-2018):

Nepal is a poor country; most residents are, at best, educated at the level of primary schooling, and many are undernourished or even malnourished. As a result of this poverty, most planning documents produced by the government, as well as outside organizations, concentrate on human health and nutrition as the main focus for future development of aquaculture in this region. The primary focus of this project is to improve food security and nutrition for rural communities in Nepal through a suite of investigations on small-scale aquaculture as well as through  continued outreach programs for rural farmers and their families and expandning school ponds for education of rural youth.To improve productivity of production systems without increasing inputs, researchers will investigate polyculture of carp with Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and sahar (Tor putitora).  Additionally, the project will explore ways to enhance periphyton growth in aquaculture ponds. Increased periphyton, as it removes excess nutrients from water, could decrease negative environmental effects of aquaculture while augmenting production of periphyton feeders, such as rohu, catla, and common carp. Researchers will also focus on enhancing the production of native fish species, with particular attention to sahar, an economically important, high-valued indigenous fish species in Nepal. By incorporating sahar in on-farm trials for improving culture techniques, researchers hope to expand seed production, a major bottleneck to aquaculture development in Nepal. Researchers will inquire about the sources of aquaculture information for local households and if/how that information changed household aquaculture.

Current Research (2016 – 2018):

  • A Comparison of Monoculture and Polyculture of Tilapia with Carps for Pond Production Systems in Nepal (16BMA03UM) – Work Plan
  • Developing New Systems for Periphyton Enhancement in Farmers’ Ponds (16BMA04UM) – Work Plan
  • Improving Seed Production of Sahar (Tor putitora) in Chitwan Nepal (16QSD02UM) – Work Plan
  • Outreach to Increase Efficiency of Aquaculture in Nepal (16HHI03UM) – Work Plan

Research (2013-2015):

The primary focus of this project is to improve food security and nutrition for rural communities in Nepal through a suite of investigations on small-scale aquaculture. The incorporation of highly nutritious, small indigenous species (SIS) into polyculture systems will be studied as a viable means to increase food production for poorer households. Additionally, the AquaFish research team will evaluate the success of household ponds in increasing fish consumption by women and children in poor communities and will then assess the resulting nutritional improvements in rural families. The project will also focus on enhancing the production of native fish species, with particular attention to the cool-water species called Sahar. By incorporating Sahar in on-farm trials for improving culture techniques, researchers also hope to expand seed production to reach more regions of the country. Other indigenous species, including the stinging catfish, will also be included in the study.

  • Reproduction and Seed Production of Sahar (Tor putitora) in Chitwan, Nepal – 13QSD02UM (Final Report)
  • Production of Periphyton to Enhance Yield in Polyculture Ponds with Carps and Small Indigenous Species -13SFT08UM (Final Report Part 1) (Final Report Part 2)
  • Household Fish Ponds in Nepal: Their impact on Fish Consumption and Health of Women and Children; Their Constraints Determined by Value Chain Analysis; and Their Extension Through School Women’s Fish Farming Groups – 13MER06UM (Final Report)
  • Two Small Indigenous Species to Improve Sustainability in Typical Polyculture Systems in Nepal* – 13IND04UM (Final Report)
  • Demonstrating the Value of Tilapia and Sahar production in Polyculture Ponds Using Government Farm and On-Farm Trials – 13BMA06UM (Final Report)
  • Establishing School Ponds for Fish Farming and Education to Improve Health and Nutrition of Women and Children in Rural Nepal – 13HHI04UM (Final Report)
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