- History of Aquaculture Development:
A simple culture method for milkfish (Chanos chanos) was practised on the island of Vaitupu. Milkfish fry entered naturally during high tide into a pond, dug next to the lagoon, and were fed with grated coconut and crushed crabs.
Small-scale pearl culture operations has had some success. Pearl shells were collected in Nukufetau and stocked in the lagoon for selling on the domestic market in Tuvalu and Ocean island.
Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) was introduced and later infested ponds and the lagoon. It was not accepted as a food fish and eradication from existing ponds was preferred. It was reportedly used for pig food.
Giant clam (Tridacna derasa) and Trochus (Trochus niloticus) were imported from Palau and the Cook Islands respectively for restocking purpose.
- National Aspirations:
- Funding for development of potential aquaculture commodities in particular, giant clams, pearl oyster and sea weed
- Close monitoring of milkfish culture on Vaitupu before any further expansion is made to other islands
- Use the Vaitupu demonstration pond for training local potential farmers on principles of milkfish farming and pond management
- Conduct detailed study on suitable sites followed by pond construction on the other potential islands for aquaculture
- Establish an aquaculture monitoring system for all these potential islands
- Look into importing other marine resources that are of commercial potential for culture trial in Tuvalu coastal and lagoon waters
- Run the national hatchery for giant clam, Trochus and other sessile organisms that are of commercial potential for restocking
- Importation of seaweed seedlings from Kiribati
- Importation of pearl oyster brood stock from neighbouring countries
- Constraints and Impediments :
- Limited suitable areas for extensive aquaculture development on land
- High degree of exposure to strong westerlies which reduced the suitability for mariculture development
- Lack of general knowledge and practical experience on aquaculture development
- Existing regulations are not legalized and therefore impossible to enforce
- Lack of financial capability to cater for items required at pond construction stage or hatchery running costs.
- Main Features of the Industry :
Mossambicus tilapia ponds are integrated with pig farming which is the main source of fertilization. The tilapia are harvested and fed back to the pigs as a source of protein.
Milkfish farming on Vaitupu has had some success.
Occassionaly the fishers will use holding pens in the lagoon to keep catches of fish or invertebrate alive or to grow-out valuable food types such as lobster.