Experts criticize Norwegian fish aid in Africa as ‘recipe for an environmental disaster’

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With considerable Norwegian aid, the freshwater fish, Nile tilapia, has been distributed among rivers and lakes in Africa. It is the recipe for an environmental disaster, say Norwegian experts.

Research Director, Tor Næsje, at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, and Professor Jeppe Kolding at the University of Bergen, believe that it is ‘incomprehensible’ that the Norwegian government support the spread of new, invasive species into Africa’s lakes and rivers, according to Dagens Næringsliv newspaper.

‘Nile tilapia, which belong in the Nile, as used now in new Saharan fish farms, are escaping and spreading at record speed to new rivers and lakes and are about to destroy the natural resource base for millions of people.

For me, as a fish resource biologist, it is incomprehensible that we are doing this’, said Næsje.

Among other things, the state-owned development fund, Norfund, invested over 100 million in the largest farming company of Nile tilapia, Saharan.

Norad spent over 160 million on the development program ‘Fish for Development’. Coordinator, Jan Eriksen of Norad, concedes that aquaculture can have serious consequences for the environment, but says the possible negative consequences for the environment of a Norwegian-funded project are always considered.

‘Fish farming is no quick fix. This we are aware of, and it is part of the historical information which we include as part of our development cooperation’, he said.

 

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today

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