The Kaybee Farm at Nakasi near Suva began its first commercial sales of tilapia fingerlings this week, providing fish farmers with fresh pond stocks for the growing aquaculture industry in Fiji. The Kaybee Farm’s batch of 20,000 all-male fish fingerlings, reared up to 2.5g or 1-inch size, have all been sold to Mr Laisiasa Cavakiqali, who operates a tilapia fish grow-out farm in Ba.
Mrs Katarina Baleisuva, the owner of Kaybee Farm, made a significant investment in fish hatchery construction, training and production, and is proud to see the results of her efforts. “I am really happy to see our first big batch of tilapia fingerlings sold to a commercial fish farmer,” said Mrs Baleisuva, “I’m thankful for the training and technical support provided through the Pacific Community SPC’s Aquaculture Section, and to Fiji Ministry of Fisheries (MoF) for the quality GIFT tilapia brood stock sourced from Naduruloulou Research Station. I was able to complete a 2-week fish hatchery course in Thailand thanks to SPC, and they also helped me to design and trouble-shoot my new tilapia hatchery”.
Mr. Cavakiqali received the hatchings and packed the inch-long fish into a 1000L tank in the tray of his twin-cab 4x4 in preparation for the trip back to Ba. He welcomed the new sources of tilapia fingerlings, which will help support his own farm saying, “This is enough fish to stock four of the 20x50m ponds at our tilapia farm in Ba. Tilapia fish fingerlings are in high demand and it is difficult to obtain large numbers, or bigger sizes like these ones. These fish will reach harvest size much sooner”.
MoF’s Principal Fisheries Officer Aquaculture Ms Mere Lakeba stressed the Fiji government’s long-standing support for tilapia aquaculture in Fiji as a source of subsistence and food security for inland areas. “Our support will continue through the current Food Security fish farming program that we administer, however we now see a trend toward commercialisation of tilapia aquaculture in Fiji and this is very encouraging. This year we are gearing up for bigger output from government tilapia hatcheries by adopting new methods like incubator technology.”
Looking to the future, Ms Lakeba expressed her hope that the industry will continue to expand in the private sector saying, “The tilapia production that has so far occurred in Fiji is due largely to government’s support. Now the challenge is to grow the industry to a size well beyond what government alone can support. It is really pleasing to see the appearance of new private hatcheries like Kaybee Farm, operating on a commercial basis to cater for the bigger batches of fish fingerlings needed by commercial farms”.
SPC’s Timothy Pickering noted how sale of the hatchlings represented an ideal outcome. “It’s a great example of how SPC uses its scientific and technical expertise to help governments meet their national development objectives and make a positive impact on the lives of communities and individuals.
Anyone interested in ordering tilapia fingerlings for pond grow-out can contact Kaybee Farm by mobile 926 3263 or email [email protected].
The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific. Established in 1947, it gathers 26 Member Countries and Territories and works for the development and advancement of the Pacific peoples. For more information, please visit our website on www.spc.int.