(ACIAR Project FIS/2008/023)

Project leaders: A/Prof. Jes Sammut (UNSW) and Jacob Wani (National Fisheries Authority, PNG).

Project duration: 4 years, commencing August 2010.

Project budget: $1.7 Million (ACIAR); $3.6 Million from all sources.

Commissioned agency: UNSW      

Lead partner agency: National Fisheries Authority, PNG

Project partners: National Department of Agriculture and Livestock, EHP Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Highlands Aquaculture Development Centre, University of Technology, Sisters of Notre Dame at the Maria Kwin Training Centre, The Ok Tedi Fly River Development Program, Gadjah Mada University, Bris Kanda, HCC, Oxfam, SSSEP, DEEDI QLD, and TWCHF.

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. The project will develop site selection criteria and improve farming methods to enable farmers in the inland areas of PNG to sustainably farm fish for income and food security.

Associate Professor Jes Sammut, from UNSW’s AWRC, is coordinating the project with Mr Jacob Wani from the National Fisheries Authority. The team of researchers, government extension officers, aquaculture technicians and NGOs will work on all aspects of fish farming with a focus on delivering farming technologies that are simple to apply yet based on scientific studies.

There are more than 10,000 small-scale fish farms in PNG producing tilapia, carp or trout for home consumption and sale. Interest in aquaculture is growing rapidly and the PNG government has given high priority to aquaculture development to increase food and income security. However, current production levels are low when compared with South-east Asian farming systems. Significant constraints include lack of capability within management agencies to identify appropriate sites for pond development, inadequate supply and poor quality of fingerlings, limited availability and high cost of pond fertilisers and suitable feeds, and a general lack of knowledge and training on aquaculture husbandry skills.

Fish farming has the potential to provide an affordable and locally available source of protein for impoverished communities.   An increase in protein intake is also required to improve the efficacy of HIV treatments and to prolong the lives of people with HIV/AIDS. Over 80% of PNG’s population is unemployed; sustainable fish farming, in harmony with other rural activities, can provide opportunities for self-employment as well as support the growth of associated industries.

Farming technologies will be extended to farmers and taught in schools and prisons and to farmer associations. Lead farmers will work closely with the research team to ensure that the technologies target the needs of the farming community. NGOs, who are at the front line of work on poverty alleviation and extension work, are embedded in the project team.

The specific objectives of the project are to:

  1. Improve site selection for aquaculture for increased productivity.
  2. Improve broodstock management and availability of quality fingerlings.
  3. Improve access to and knowledge of feeds and fertilisers.
  4. Refine, compare, validate and document different production and husbandry packages for different farming systems.

The study will be conducted in the Western Province, Western Highlands Province, Eastern Highlands Province and Morobe Province but will extend the technologies throughout the inland areas of PNG.

Contact: A/Prof. Jes Sammut
Email: j.sammut@unsw.edu.au


Improving technologies for inland aquaculture in Papua New Guinea

Pond-based production of Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) and European Carp is rapidly expanding in the rural areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to the point that there are approximately 50,000 farms.

Aquaculture and environmental planning group

Throughout the Asia-Pacific, aquaculture has been promoted as a means of improving income and food security for rural communities.

Understanding soil-related constraints on aquaculture production

In Papua New Guinea, aquaculture is an important source of protein for the rural majority of the population, contributing to food security and income generation.