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Economic Analysis of the Inland Fisheries Project in El Salvador – International Center for Aquaculture, Auburn University


McCoy, E.

Date: 1974

Funding Agency: USAID

Keywords: el salvador, economic, aquaculture, fisheries, international, development

Category: International Country Report

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During the 2-year period Dr. David R. Bayne served as

Fisheries Advisor to the Ministry of Agriculture the fisheries

program of El Salvador recorded substantial progress.

Specific advances were as follows:

The Fisheries Station at Santa Cruz Parrillo was essentially

completed, a survey of lakes and ponds was instituted,

and a farm pond culture survey was completed.

Research directed towards increasing harvests from the

national waters of El Salvador was conducted.

The Fisheries Service expanded and began an active

program of disseminating fisheries information to prospective

fish farmers.

A program of community ponds was developed to further

.increase awareness of fish farming as a production


Arrangements were completed for professional training

of fisheries personnel.

Lack of funds for construction severely limited developments

at the Fisheries Station and construction did not proceed

on schedule. At the time Dr. Bayne completed his

tour, however, the program had reached a stage where significant

benefits could accrue to the country. The next

stage in the fisheries program should be a melding of research

and extension. Economically feasible production techniques

that have been developed must be accepted by producers

before success of the program can be assured. A strong

commitment on the part of the Fisheries Service and the

Min is try of Agriculture is essential for strengthening the

extension program in fisheries.

A new fisheries advisor should have been present in El

Salvador during the final period of Dr. Bayne’s tour so that

programs in progress could have undergone an orderly transition.

Presently, there are two individuals with training in

fish culture working with Fisheries Service in El Salvador:

David Dunseth, Peace Corps Volunteer working at the Fisheries

Station, and Ralph Parkman, Peace Corps Volunteer working

on a fish marketing study. Both are masters candidates.

One Salvadorean is presently training for a B.S. degree in fisheries

at Auburn University, and the Head of the Fisheries

Service, Jose E. Cabrero, will enroll as a Ph.D. candidate at

Auburn University in March 1974.. In June 1974, Cecilia Carcia

Hamirios will begin study towards a M.S. degree at Auburn

University. The return of trainees will provide the nucleus

of trained people necessary to carry out an effective fisheries

program. While the training programs are imperative, the

interim period must be utilized effectively. A fisheries service

without a trained technical advisor and with its head out

of the country could easily be diverted into nonproductive


Farm fish culture in El Salvador is clearly in a pre-emergence

stage. Consumption of fish per capita is less than

one-fifth of consumption in Panama. Research has only

begun to examine the various production possibilities for

different areas of the country. ln the United States, production

of over 20,000 kilograms per hectare can be attained

under certain commercial production systems. In El

Salvador, with its favorable climatic conditions, production

levels should far exceed those attainable in the United States,

once producers obtain an assured water supply, a polyculture

system utilizing supplementary feeding, and management

knowledge regarding production and harvesting. Envision

a chicken producing unit with waste material moved

directly into a pond. Hafted on the pond is a hydroponic

crop that is fed to the chickens or fish, or sold for human

consumption. Within the pond are several species of fish,

each utilizing a different level of the food chain. Should

research indicate that fresh water crabs or clams would fit

within the system, then production would become three

dimensional. Under such a system, 1 hectare of water surface

would represent 2 or 3 hectares of production simultaneously.

Applied research must be continued to attain the

highest levels of productivity possible. While some research

results are transferable, the situation in each country requires

different production systems. Thus, research must

be carried out in El Salvador. It will be at least 2 years,

however, before experienced and trained Salvadorean aquaculturists

will be available to carry the research programs


The externalities of expanded fish production are difficult

to perceive, but the possibilities are constructive. Producers

with multiple ponds can ensure a stable water supply by

drilling wells, with the resultant benefit of a domestic water

supply. Full time on-fam1 labor for the producer and his

family, coupled with a higher protein diet, may improve the

educational level of part of the population. Each of these

factors is difficult to quantify. For a country with a high

population density and limited land resources, however, intensive

fish culture represents one means to supply maximum

return. In terms of protein equivalents per unit of

input, fish production far exceeds cattle or hog production.

Before any of the returns postulated in this analysis can

occur, however, the research results must be transmitted to

and accepted by the production sector.

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