Mariculture has been proposed and practised as one of a number of sustainable economic activities in or near Marine Protected Areas (MPA) (TNC and CI, 2012). In Indonesia, ecotourism, small-scale fisheries and mariculture are the main sources of income for small island communities who live within or near MPAs. However, the designation of mariculture within or near an MPA has been largely based on political agreements between decision makers involved in the management of the MPA. Although this type of agreement might solve the potential conflict over the use of natural resources and seascape of an MPA, the success of mariculture and its potential impact on the protected area is difficult to measure. It is necessary to develop a site selection framework for mariculture in MPAs that combine qualitative and quantitative approaches to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of aquaculture and to strike a balance between conservation and livelihood goals.
My research focuses on the integration of hard data (physical, biological and other environmental parameters) and soft data (stakeholder preferences and values) in determining site suitability for mariculture in or near an MPA. I will be using ocean colour imagery, hydrodynamic models, an oxygen and nutrient dynamics model, and decision-maker preferences using multiple-criteria decision analysis to produce site suitability criteria and decision support tools that are both scientifically and politically feasible for MPA stakeholders.
This research will also investigate the relative benefits and sustainability of mariculture for ecotourism and fisheries by measuring their sustainability indicators from the point of human systems and environmental systems.
Supervisor: Associate Professor Jesmond Sammut
Co-supervisor: Dr Jenny Beer
An ACIAR-funded aquaculture project was launched on 18-19 August 2010 in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands of PNG to develop fish farming packages based on scientifically-validated methods.
Throughout the Asia-Pacific, aquaculture has been promoted as a means of improving income and food security for rural communities.
In Papua New Guinea, aquaculture is an important source of protein for the rural majority of the population, contributing food security and income generation.