The objective of this component is to promote and support small and medium mariculture (saltwater aquaculture) enterprises in the Pacific Island countries and territories. This will contribute to employment and economic growth, particularly in rural areas, and in the case of some products will add directly to local food supplies. Mariculture can provide an alternative to capture fisheries, relieving pressure on over-exploited coastal resources.
On a global basis, aquaculture is growing faster than any other form of food production and is predicted to overtake capture fisheries as a supplier of fish for food in the near future. In many PICTs, however, the potential for growth of the sector has yet to be realised. In 2007 the value of production was USD 211 million, but it was dominated by pearls and prawns from the French territories. In the last five years or so, however, a number of new small and medium sized mariculture ventures have started in other Pacific Island countries, targeting local and niche export markets. This project component aims to build on these successes, and will also contribute directly to local fish supply by culturing sustainably trapped wild fish fingerlings in cages using local feed ingredients.
In line with the recommendations of the 2009 AusAID-funded review of the SPC Marine Resources Division, this project component will start with a critical analysis of the opportunities and constraints to mariculture development, emphasising economic and market factors. It is expected that this will refine the existing SPC Aquaculture Action Plan (2007), which has identified the key mariculture commodities (particularly pearls, prawn, seaweed and marine aquarium species). It will also inform national aquaculture strategies or legislation, which will be developed through a consultative process, with strong private sector input.
This project component will then provide advice and technical assistance with the implementation of the mariculture components of these strategies. This will include addressing issues with production techniques for some commodities, but also help to overcome other constraints, and may include assistance with developing new legislation where required. There will be an emphasis on developing skilled aquaculture scientists/technicians at the national level, and a number of projects will involve post-graduate students from the region.
This project component has strong linkages with other initiatives, notably the ACIAR mini-projects and the work of CRISP on post-larval capture and culture. There are synergies with components 2 and 4 of this programme.
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