Seven participants from various fisheries departments in the region and private sector operations-from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, New Caledonia, and French Polynesia are attending a three-week course in Thailandon operating a marine finfish hatchery. The focus for this session wil be on grouper species.
Out-sourcing our training to Asia is quite a new thing for SPC, but the interest in our activitesshows the value of links to this region, said SPC Aquaculture adviser Ben Ponia.
The marine fish farming sector is one of the most dynamic in Asia. The training will enable our people to take stock of the successes of Asian operations, which are similar to theirs if you compare the level of technology used or the environmental constraints they have to deal with.
World aquaculture production of groupers (FAO data) is around 6,000-7,000 tons per annum, valued at about $60 million. The bulk of this production comes from wild seed stock. Hatchery production of groupers is still low and irregular. Stock are difficult to rear because of their specific nutrient and environmental requirements. It is hoped that this training initiaitive - and future projects -will increase knowledge and expertise for hatchery operators and production companies andalso help to expand activities in the region.
Developing skills in marine hatchery operation in the Pacific region is a new but promising venture, say the course organisers. Given the growing interest and demand for fish on local and international markets, there is a high requirementfor education and knowlegde transfer.