NACA to host the International Artemia Aquaculture Consortium

Artemia remains a critical feed source for larval fish and crustaceans. As the global aquaculture industry continues to expand, so does demand for Artemia cysts, which underpin the hatchery production phase for around 10 million tonnes of aquaculture.

Around 90 percent of current Artemia cysts are naturally produced and harvested from inland salt lakes. This is a risk to a significant portion of the aquaculture industry. There is a need to assure the sustainable supply of Artemia cysts to support hatchery production, from both wild and farmed sources.

A new international and interdisciplinary approach is needed to tackle these Artemia issues and opportunities, as happened following the breakthrough in Artemia use in aquaculture following the 1976 FAO Kyoto conference.

In November 2019, a meeting of Artemia experts in Kuala Lumpur conceived of establishing the International Artemia Aquaculture Consortium, a network of scientists and institutions that would collaborate in exploring opportunities such as the conservation of Artemia biodiversity, development of science-based protocols for sustainable harvesting of wild sources, strain selection and selective breeding, and many more. A provisional Steering Committee was established, and a provisional website established courtesy of the Institute of Marine Biotechnology, University Malaysia Terengganu.

On 20 April Prof. Patrick Sorgeloos visited the NACA Secretariat to discuss cooperation, and it was agreed that NACA would host the consortium, playing a coordinating role and establishing a permanent website presence. Dr Huang Jie, Director General of NACA, indicated that the Secretariat was pleased to be involved in the initiative, which offers many exciting research opportunities of global significance.

NACA’s first contribution as host to the consortium was to assist in convening two regional webinars on The History of Artemia Activities in Africa and on Management of Artemia Resources of the Great Salt Lake on 4 and 5 May, respectively. These events led on from last year’s NACA Webinar on Status of the Use of Artemia Cysts in Fish/Crustacean Hatcheries Around the World (2 September 2021) and the consortium’s SDG-aligned Artemia Aquaculture Workshop (22 September 2021), which was held in conjunction with the Global Conference on Aquaculture Millennium +20.

Video recordings of the technical presentations are available from the above links, along with the reports of the meetings. Key conclusions and recommendations from these workshops were presented at the recent FAO Sub-committee on Aquaculture Meeting, held virtually from 24-27 May 2022, where they attracted favourable comments. The report will be considered by the FAO Committee on Fisheries in September.

Finally, NACA is hosting the new consortium website, which is available at If you wish to sign up for consortium-related announcements, which will include publications and localised training courses on good practices, please sign up for the email newsletter.

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