Fish farming families in West Sepik receive support

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The FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme provided 107 fish farming households with quality fish farming inputs, to improve the quality and quantity of fish production, increase income and enrich the nutrition of inland rural communities in the Sepik region.

Vanimo, Papua New Guinea – Eight hundred fifty-six rural population living in inland areas of the Vanimo-Green District of West Sepik Province will have better access to nutrient-rich fish protein for an improved diet, thanks to support provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under the EU-funded STREIT PNG Programme.

FAO recently provided 12,900 quality Tilapia fingerlings to 107 households with 856 direct beneficiaries from Yako, Pewi Conner, Hogru and Biaka Villages in the District.

The fish farmers own 200+ fish ponds and six fish nurseries. All have been capacitated by FAO under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme in proper techniques and skills of aquaculture production, including the biology and lifecycle of Tilapia, fingerlings stocking, fish feed formulation and production using locally available ingredients, fish ponds construction, design and management, book-keeping and handling/harvesting of mature fish.

Rolled out in partnership with the Provincial Fisheries and Marine Resources Office, the initiative is aimed at supporting inland fish farming households to increase fish production, earn a higher income, improve households’ diet and increase food security in inland areas that suffer from a lack of access to nutrient-rich animal protein.

“The tilapia fish is everyone’s favourite according to its taste, which is mild flaky, with a firm texture of meat. It is a top consumer choice with a steady growth gradient, which means, Tilapia fish farming is an emerging potential income stream for fish farmers as wild stock populations are dramatically declining,” explained Mr Lapia Renagi, the FAO Fresh Water Aquaculture Officer who supervised the support.

“Depending on the number and the size of fish ponds, supported households in this round of input provision received between 50 to 150 fingerlings,” said Mr Renagi, “FAO will continue the support to West Sepik Province with additional 20,000 fingerlings.”

A fisheries value chain study commissioned by the FAO under EU-STREIT PNG to the PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) identified some challenges faced by key actors, and this intervention is part of the fisheries value chains upgrading plan (aquaculture, riverine and coastal) in the Sepik region.

The FAO International Fisheries Officer, Mr Mohammed Zakir Hossain, explains the significance of this initiative, “Inland Fisheries or Fresh Water Aquaculture is the fastest growing industry globally taking over from capture fishery. It is an environment-friendly and sustainable activity and an effective option to shifting fishing pressure on natural habitats.”

The EU-STREIT PNG Programme, led by FAO, is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country. It focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through Increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fisheries value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers, including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-resistant transport and energy infrastructure development.

Feature Photo Caption: Inland fisherwomen receiving quality tilapia fingerlings provided by the FAO under the EU-STREIT PNG Programme in Vanimo-Green District, WSP.

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