History of Aquaculture Development:
The potential for seaweed (euchema) farming was assessed in 1988 and several trials were set up. The first site did not produce high yields due to grazing pressure from rabbitfish but better results were attained at a second site. There were four operational farms in 1990.
Crocodile farming was initiated and in 1983 several small-scale farms were in operation funded by interests from Papua New Guinea. Oyster cultivation was under consideration as there were many suitable sites throughout the Solomons. Experimental culture of the native oyster Saccostrea tuberculata was carried out in San Cristobal. S. cucullata was cultured in Starr Harbor in Guadacanal, and results were promising, but by 1983 there was no oyster farming in the country.
Pearl oyster culture by a private company was recorded in 1970. It closed down in 1972 due to problems in spat collection and breeding techniques. Another company was reported to have successfully produced half pearls from silver-lip pearl oyster Pinctada maxima.
A commercial shrimp farm came into operation in 1983 utilising the giant freshwater shrimp Macrobrachium rosenbergii from Tahiti. Production was not high and a dispute over land ownership eventually led to the closure of the farm.
Culture of saltwater prawn Penaeus monodon started in 1987. By 1988 harvest was low, attributed to poor pond management, inadequate technique and low quality food. A hatchery supplied post-larvae for stocking the ponds, but poor training led to cessation of the hatchery. A feasibility study concluded that there was not enough gravid P. monodon to supply the hatchery.
Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) was introduced in 1957 for stocking into natural lakes and ponds. In 1970, large sized tilapia was reported from Lake Te Nganno on Rennell island. Tilapia had spread throughout most freshwater ponds in the country but was not readily accepted by the people. Attempts at cultivating it ponds did not materialise and O. niloticus was suggested for culture.
Turtle farms were established in the Manning Strait area to investigate population dynamics. Green turtles and hawksbill turtles were stocked into ponds. Thier growth studied and hatchlings released into the wild. Some of the hatchlings were released while a village community cultured others. Hatchlings were also kept for a turtle headstart project.
The Solomon Islands Government only established the Aquaculture Section in 2000. This was realized after the increase in population, and the depleted wild stock of resources both at sea and fresh water population as nutrition need in daily diets and income.
Further set back was experienced during the ethnic crisis (2000 - 2003) of which crippled this section until law and order was restored by international force (RAMSI) in 2003. A new chapter for the beginning of Aquaculture in the Country.National Aspirations:
- Commercialise demonstration pearl farm
- Establish hatchery for pearl oyster spat production
- Expand seaweed production
- Restocking using aquaculture seed e.g. trochus, giant clams, green snail, sea cucumbers
- Encouragement restarting of commercial prawn farm
- Implementation of aquaculture regulationsConstraints and Impediments :
- Unstable Government
- No clear Government Policies
- Lack of appropriate resources (manpower and equipment, etc)
- Land Disputes
- Lack of technical know how and proper information.
- Lack of infrastructure and communication
- Lack of business skills and management
- Traditional and custom inheritanc Main Features of the Industry :
Aquaculture development in Solomon Islands has been affected by ethnic tension which led to the closure on Guadacanal island of a relatively successful small prawn farming industry and a burgeoning village network of giant clam farms.
The WorldFish Center operates a research station at Nuse Tupe island, Gizo province, which is the main centre for aquaculture research.
Pearl farming trials have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of spat collection from the wild. Several semi-commercial harvests have been achieved.
A private company is exporting marine ornamental products for the aquarium trade. Some of the fish and invertebrate species are cultured. Larval ranching trials of fish and invertebrate larvae have shown the potential of this technique to contribute to sustainable harvest practices.
Seaweed farming has been rejuvenated under a government programme. Extension activity to increase the level of production to commercialisation is under way.