By MALUM NALU
A COMMERCIAL barramundi hatchery set up in Daru, Western province, by the PNG Sustainable Development Program four years ago is progressing very well, according to PNGSDP chief David Sode, The National reports.
He said yesterday the hatchery was capable of producing “a couple of million” barramundi fingerlings every year to replenish stocks in the Fly River and other river systems of Western province.
|Barramundi fingerlings at the Daru hatchery.-Picture by FLORENCE KUYEI|
Sode said the hatchery was one of the major projects in Daru which promised to transform the local economy.
The barramundi hatchery came under the Western Province Sustainable Aquaculture (WPSA), a PNGSDP initiative which had a strong regional development focus, incorporating potential public, private and community partnerships.
Fishing was perceived as the most important industry after mining in Western province.
In recent years, the collapse of the barramundi fishery in the Fly River due to over-fishing, changes in attitude and environmental degradation had significantly impacted on the income-generating and subsistence opportunities of the river-dependent communities along the Fly.
A number of communities along the Fly River had been affected by the presence of the Ok Tedi Mine (OTML), and are currently receiving payments, which would phase out by the time the mine closes.
WPSA was a K28 million programme made up of a commercial barramundi hatchery facility and three associated social development projects:
· Commercial trials to develop a barramundi cage culture model for future expansion;
· Restocking project in which barramundi fingerlings will be stocked into the depleted Fly river system; and
· Conservation project to raise awareness and protect the wild barramundi fishery.
Sode said a management team from Cairns was in charge of the project, which is situated on an 8.1ha site in Daru.