World fish farming: Cultivation and economics

World fish farming: Cultivation and economics

88 raphies list most of the significant contributions to the contemporary literature of genetics in aquaculture. The workshop summaries present objec...

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88

raphies list most of the significant contributions to the contemporary literature of genetics in aquaculture. The workshop summaries present objective syntheses of the discussions, although as might be expected do reflect the orientations of the authors. These summaries are effective in describing the present state of genetics in aquaculture; what is known and what needs to be known. The summary by Dr. Graham Gall on the genetics of fish is noteworthy in that it could stand alone as a statement of contemporary research needs in this field. It addresses the genetic implications of aquaculture as an agricultural production system on the one hand, and as a tool for natural resource management on the other. There is a contemporary consensus that this duality of aquacultural purpose must be unified if the economic and political climate for world aquaculture is to improve. The symposium proceedings would seem to be a positive step towards developing a conceptual framework in this regard. At today’s prices this volume is unlikely to become a household fixture. However, because it accurately summarizes the state of the art of genetics in aquaculture, has been carefully edited, and includes substantial bibliographies it would be a valuable addition to the reference library of professionals and serious students working in this field. J.E. LANNAN Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife, Marine Science Center, Oregon State University, Newport, OR 97365 (U.S.A.)

WORLD AQUACULTURE

World Fish Farming: Cultivation and Economics. E. Evan Brown. Avi Publishing Company, Inc. Westport, CT. Second Edition, 1983. xviii + 515 pp., US$39.50, ISBN 0-87055-427-l. The second edition of Prof. Evan Brown’s magnum opus on world aquaculture now covers 31 countries and includes descriptive passages on over a hundred species, of fish and crustaceans. It also contains a mass of data on production and world trade in aquaculture products. All the major methods of fish culture used throughout the world are presented (ponds, raceways, cages, etc.) often in considerable detail. The book is copiously illustrated with photographs and sketches and there are over 100 tables in the text. All this being said, it must be admitted that the author’s account is flawed by a number of major omissions and by a presentational bias which sometimes appears to be downright perverse. It is normal in such an account to attempt at least some definition of fish farming or aquaculture in the introduction so that the reader has a rough

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idea of what he might expect to find in the text. In this case, no such definition appears and it would seem that the author has given little or no thought to obtaining a reasonably balanced account. Thus, while the intensive and extensive culture of finfish and crustaceans are covered reasonably well for most of the countries dealt with, sea ranching receives only a reluctant nod in passing (with no mention of the huge Canadian Salmon Enhancement Programme at the author’s back door) and there is only the occasional mention of mollusc culture. It would seem that the author intended to exclude molluscs from his brief but was unable to resist the temptation to throw in the odd reference to them. Geographical prejudice is even more blatant. The reviewer normally accepts (however reluctantly) that the author’s own country of origin will feature most prominently in almost any book claiming to give world coverage. Not surprisingly then, the section on the U.S.A. runs to 59 pages, second only to Japan with 65 pages, and way ahead of the rest of the field. What, however, is the reader to make of an assessment which awards only 21 pages to the People’s Republic of China, with (according to the author) two-thirds of the world’s production, and 24 pages to Poland? Not to mention the miserly (but well written) 10 pages for Israel whose fish farmers and biologists train the world in aquaculture techniques. Agreed, neither S. America nor Africa can be considered to rank with Asia and Europe and, if one is taking a geographical block approach to fish farming, it is not unreasonable to exclude them. In which case, why bother with Australia and Papua New Guinea? And why exclude India and Bangladesh, with a combined production of several thousands of tonnes? As the author himself admits, data (cost relationships, marketing margins and ‘other economic data’) sometimes become useless after only a brief period of time. Since nearly all the tables in this book - published in 1983 predate the present decade and much of the information is from the early 1970s and before, it is frequently only useful (again, in the author’s own words): ‘. . , as a benchmark for future comparisons’. So much for the major lacunae. On the whole the first half of the book is pretty well organised. From Chapter 1 to Chapter 14, the opening section deals with salmonid species, next turning to cyprinids and eels where applicable. Canada is the only exception to this general rule but this need not distract the reader overmuch. Suddenly, in Chapter 15, a string of national authors takes over and the system is in chaos. For some authors (e.g. Leopold for Poland) administration is the most important factor in fish culture, while others, such as Atkinson on China, prefer a rambling historico-social approach. The continuity is broken and the reader becomes confused by a medley of different styles which he might have expected in an edited review, but is not prepared for in a book which has the name of a single author on the title page. The list of fish ‘and other aquatic species’ on the first page of each chapter is often so confused as to be nonsensical. What, for instance, is one to make

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of ‘fishheads’ on p. 4, or Polish crayfish and Turkish crayfish (no specific names) on p. 180? To give a list of the species reared is quite reasonable but the inclusion of the diets of the fish and crustaceans reared in the list of species verges on the ridiculous. Writers of books on fish farming are well advised to avoid all but the most cautious predictions of future production and, on the whole, the author manages to stick to this golden rule. When he comes unstuck, he does so catastrophically. There is not the slightest chance whatsoever that the brackish water production of mullets, sea bass and gilthead in Italy will increase to ‘over 90,000 MT*’ (p. 179) within the forseeable future. Nor is it any more likely that flatfish production in the U.K. will increase from its present level of circa 10 tonnes to 500 tonnes by 1985 (p. 222). The author is more cautious in his estimate of future world production of farmed fish and notes that substantial increases in production would require a much greater proportion of the world’s fishmeal be directed to fish feeds, failing the development of suitable substitutes. To sum up, the book is something of a disappointment; lots of good reliable information (although frequently out of date) for some countries but with a rather thin, sometimes dubious coverage for others. The references are often sketchy to say the least. However, most chapters are reasonably easy to read and the lay-out is immaculate. R.G. KIRK

Avenue de Mai 257, B-1200 Brussels (Belgium)

CRUSTACEAN

AQUACULTURE

of Mariculture, Volume 1, Crustacean Aquaculture. J.P. McVey (Editor). CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1983. 442 pp., US$ 120.00, ISBN 0-8493-0220-X.

Handbook

The stated aim of this volume is to bring together the various techniques currently (1982) in use for the mass culture of commercially important crustaceans. The book is intended for the guidance of both commercial operators and researchers. The editor acknowledges that at present there exists a number of established techniques for each particular phase of a culture operation. These techniques differ slightly from one another according to the environmental and socio-economic conditions under which they were developed, hence the selection of contributors for this volume must have been a difficult task. Indeed, the editor admits to allowing some degree of overlap between the contributions “so that the reader (can) fully understand *MT = tonnes.