Global demand for seafood continues to rise and is driven by population growth, higher incomes, urbanization and increasing preference for seafood protein. As capture fisheries production has reached its limits, the growth of aquaculture is critical for meeting increasing demand for fish. One of the bottlenecks constraining sustainable aquaculture development is the lack of improved strains of fish.

To date, aquaculture in developing countries is still largely based on unimproved fish strains which are genetically similar or inferior to wild counterparts. This results in aquaculture with poor growth rate, high mortality and steep production costs. Genetically improved seeds of fish and other aquatic species are essential for increasing productivity and improving socioeconomic performance of aquaculture production.

SPAITS aims to accelerate the dissemination of improved tilapia and carp strains to smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia, while continuing research on new genetic traits in tilapia that could further benefit smallholders in developing countries. A specific project aim is to enhance the degree to which dissemination systems increase the access to and adoption of improved seed by poor women. The project will deliver research outputs and outcomes at national level in Bangladesh, Malawi and Myanmar.

The project implementation in Myanmar will gain synergies from Improving the Production, Nutrition and Market Values of Small-Scale Aquaculture in Myanmars Shan State and Sagaing Region (INLAND MYSAP).