Five local tilapia farmers, who attended a two-week course on aquaculture in Bangkok, Thailand, have returned and are ready to put their newly acquired knowledge into practice.
The training was part of the Increasing Agricultural Commodities Trade (IACT) project, an EU funded and Pacific Community (SPC) implemented project which has been supporting Fiji's recovery from the devastation caused by the tropical cyclone Winston.
An assessment of the damage caused by tropical cyclone Winston in Fiji's aquaculture sector highlighted an acute supply shortage of tilapia fry and fingerlings.
The aquaculture course, facilitated by Asia Institute of Technology (AIT), provided participants with hands-on training on how to set up and run tilapia hatcheries and grow-out farms.
Supporting the rehabilitation of local tilapia hatcheries will not only strengthen livelihoods in the aquaculture sector, but will also provide important health benefits by making tilapia available to consumers in Fiji at an affordable cost.
‘Living in Naitasiri highlands, it is difficult to come by fresh fish. It is important that fish is available to people like me living in such a remote area because of its health benefits,'' said Iowane Vere, one of the five participants who attended the training in Thailand.
“Tilapia farming gives our community the option of choosing something other than meat to eat. A hatchery in our community will encourage neighbouring villages to take up tilapia farming as well,” added Mr Vere.
Following the training, the project will assist the selected tilapia farmers in setting up their own hatcheries. This will increase and diversify the local supply of tilapia fry and fingerlings.
“Increasing resilience within the supply market will ensure Fijians living inland will have access to fresh and affordable fish all year around. For tilapia farmers, it will mean that they can focus on growing their farms without the worry of where they will get their supply of tilapia fry,” Pacific Community Deputy Director-General, Dr Audrey Aumua said.
“Through the training that was provided, we hope the number of hatcheries within in Fiji will grow in the years to come. Not only will this increase food security but it will also strengthen the foundation of an industry that has the potential to become a strong commercial influence within the region,” Dr Aumua added.
The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, proudly supporting development since 1947. It is an international development organisation owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members.
Vivita Matanimeke, SPC Communications Assistant, [email protected] or +679 337 0733