From February 20 to March 4, the international expert Gerard Pinto, Associate Research Scientist, PhD from Marine Science Research Institute, Jacksonville University, provided consultancy for the newly built Aquaculture Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) – a pilot project implemented by the USAID’s Advanced Science and Partnerships for Integrated Resource Development Project (ASPIRED). His visit was organized by the USAID John Ogonowski and Dough Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F), marking the start of effective partnership with the ASPIRED Project.
Implemented jointly with a private fishery in Armavir, the ATTC is intended to serve as an experimental ground for testing, validating and demonstrating various aquaculture technologies and methods at smaller scale to be captured and utilized by other fisheries once being successful. The methods include water recirculation, airlifting, biological treatment of water, biofiltration, aquaponics, etc. In addition to producing sturgeon, the farmer also plans breeding Australian crayfish – a popular species among the aquaculture farms in different countries.
With his specific expertise in rearing of Australian crayfish, Gerard Pinto worked with the fish-farmer and ASPIRED specialists to recommend best practices and low-cost solutions that will help to improve the efficiency of existing technical facilities and ensure the sustainability of the farm. He also enriched the Crayfish Farming Manual based on his own practical experience in aquaculture, which was initially developed by the Birthright Armenia Volunteer for ASPIRED Project, Talene Baghdassarian. ASPIRED Project will share the Manual with the ATTC farmer and other interested fisheries. Gerard Pinto, who completed his first volunteer assignment in Armenia, remarked that ATTC would make an excellent venue for research purposes and testing of various aquaculture technologies.
Cooperation between different USAID projects produces added value for the projects and their beneficiaries. ASPIRED Project seeks collaborative opportunities with various organizations and donor-funded projects that allows bringing additional resources and expertise to the project.