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Rice studies aquaculture and water culture in Gambia

January 27, 2011

Image Courtesy Michael Rice Dr. Michael Rice during a recent visit to Gambia.

NARRAGANSETT–Gambia, a former Portuguese and British colony is a smallest ribbon of cities, villages, and swamps along the Gambia River, measuring only 30 miles at its widest point. Like Rhode Island, Gambia is trying to increase its oyster population (See Narragansett Times Dec. 15) and it is doing this and promulgating its fisheries' product laws with the help of former state representative Michael Rice.

Moving to Rhode Island for a newcomer is similar to Gore Vidal's play Visit to a Small Planet. Coffee milk, extra and missing "r's," and an odd geographic mixture of swamps, farms, beaches, cities, and stones all in a state 48 miles in length and 37 miles in width. The smallest state with the longest name has only 3,140 square kilometers of territory (Alaska is 1.7 million kilometers) and while our official sister nation is the Bahamas, perhaps Governor Chafee should look at the tiniest nation in Africa for even more small state solidarity. Gambia, a former Portuguese and British colony, is a thin coastal ribbon along the Gambia River, covering only 10,000 sq. miles and measuring only 30 miles at its widest point.

The goals of his ten day research-project were to study the water content of oyster meats, assess water quality, and study the intensity oyster spawn or "spat" throughout the Tanbi Estuary System. He also looked at regulations which attempted to "minimize bacterial growth from the farm to the plate." What he found was encouraging. The results of his tests for fecal bacteria were relatively low, even during the rainy season. (In his report he cited an example from the Philippines whose fecal bacteria was 10-100 times higher.) However, images of pit latrines and filthy pig pens uphill from local water sources leave room for improvement.

For more information pick up a copy of The Narragansett Times.

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