The Singapore Aquaculture Plan will transform the sector in three key ways:
Investing in research and innovation
Increasing and optimising spaces for aquaculture
Helping the industry adopt technology and better farm practices
Invest in research and innovation
Research and innovation are key enablers to transform our industry towards our 30 by 30 goal. The Government is investing in sustainable tropical aquaculture and has allocated over S$60 million to aquaculture research and innovation under the Singapore Food Story R&D Programme.
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) introduced an aquaculture research development programme – Aquapolis – in November 2022 to support Singapore in becoming a leading research and innovation hub for sustainable tropical aquaculture.
The AquaPolis programme aims to transform the aquaculture research landscape by bringing together research institutes, Institutions of Higher Learning, farms and companies to reap strategic synergies in developing innovative aquaculture solutions. Scientists from the SFA and research institutions such as Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and National University of Singapore will come together to serve as the brain trust of the AquaPolis. They will develop solutions for real world aquaculture challenges, with the objective of addressing farms’ problem statements. For example, scientists will look into developing superior fingerlings with traits such as faster growth rates, higher Omega-3 content and reduction in fish mortality from common fish diseases.
The programme will also cultivate talent for the local aquaculture sector.
AquaPolis’ research activities will span across Singapore, from land-based research institutions to the Johor Straits and Southern Waters where our sea-based fish farms operate. SFA’s Marine Aquaculture Centre (MAC) at St. John’s Island, which aims to deepen Singapore’s expertise in the areas of aquaculture genetics, nutrition, and health, will serve as AquaPolis’ anchor research campus.
The Singapore Aquaculture Plan will comprise 3 distinct centres – the West Johor Strait, East Johor Strait, and AquaPolis in the Southern Waters.
AquaPolis researchers can build on MAC’s expertise in fish husbandry to develop solutions. MAC also provides shared facilities such as replicated tank systems and biological materials such as eggs, larvae, rotifers and microalgae for research. In addition, there are designated incubator space for start-ups to testbed and commercialise R&D results. These inputs of husbandry-related expertise, shared facilities, incubator space and access to biological materials will enable researchers in Singapore to conduct aquaculture R&D and translate the results.
To support Singapore’s ambitions to lead in aquaculture research and innovation, SFA will enhance our facilities to attract companies and researchers to base themselves in Singapore. As the anchor research campus of AquaPolis, MAC’s facilities will be enhanced to cater to R&D needs, with upgrades such as the installation of recirculating aquaculture systems for research in intensive farming within closed environments.
As part of longer-term planning to support the aquaculture sector and Singapore’s food security vision, SFA will also review how our research facilities could be developed and integrated with other aquaculture infrastructure such as jetties and hatcheries in the future.
Increase and optimise spaces for aquaculture
SFA has been conducting studies and surveys to identify suitable sea-based farming sites. In the next few years, SFA will launch new sea spaces on 20+10 year leases to provide farmers with certainty on the tenure of sea spaces, and a longer runway to amortise their investments in high-tech, productive and sustainable farming systems.
Help industry adopt technology and better farm practices
SFA has been working with sea-based farms to improve their farming and management practices, as well as leverage science and technology, to help raise farms’ productivity and sustainability. Farms can tap on the S$60 million Agri-food Cluster Transformation (ACT) Fund which co-funds the adoption of productive, resource-efficient, and sustainable farming technologies and systems.
To encourage the adoption of sustainable sea-based farming management methods, SFA has been encouraging fish farms to use pelleted feed, that can minimise the environmental impact. SFA will also deploy real-time water quality monitoring stations and conduct routine sampling of other water and seabed quality parameters around our farming areas to monitor the overall health of our marine environment. This would serve as an early warning system for adverse environmental conditions such as low dissolved oxygen, and in turn safeguard our farms’ production.
To provide farmers with an overview of the procedures and regulatory requirements involved in setting up a sea-based farm in Singapore, SFA launched an industry guide for sea-based farms in November 2022. In addition to providing biosecurity guidelines for aquaculture farms, SFA will also provide aquatic animal health services (AAHS) to help farms strengthen biosecurity so that they can prevent and control diseases in their farms.
The Aquatic Animal Health Services by SFA will allow farms to consult veterinarians or aquatic animal health professionals on disease management and support their testing needs.
A leader in sustainable tropical aquaculture
Our vision is to grow the aquaculture industry into a sustainable sector contributing to our food security, and eventually a leader in sustainable tropical aquaculture. SFA will continue to work with the industry to develop the potential of Singapore’s aquaculture sector by transforming it to become more productive and sustainable.
Stay tuned to our Facebook & Instagram pages and Food For Thought digital publication for updates as we continue to work closely with the industry to grow more with less, sustainably!