The main activity of the Aquaculture unit is to work closely with local communities in all aquaculture related activities to help develop new income generating activities. This would then help achieve one of the Fisheries Division Objective in trying to manage the coastal fisheries resources by diversifying the fishing pressure on coastal resources to Aquaculture activities
The main objectives of the unit are to:
Giant clam spawning and community farming
Two successful spawning were carried out in 2012 and 2013 resulting in around 1500 baby clams. The aim of this spawning activity is to restock the depleted reefs around Tarawa and to assist the Atoll Beauties in the giant clam community farming.
The Giant clam community farming is also another activity this unit is actively involved in. Learning form the successful result in Ribono village in Abaiang the FD worked in collaboration with the private company Atoll Beauties in establishing another farm in Tabontebike and has extended to Kabuna in Tab North, Abatiku in Abemama and Bikati in Butaritari. The setting up of these community farming was done in late 2013 and early 2013.
The purchase of clams from the local community was left to the Atoll Beauties. Abatiku and Bikati farmers has successfully raised and sell their clams back to the Atoll Beauties however due to some unforeseen issues with the company the supply of seed clams was ceased. Kabuna farmers on the other hand were not able to sell the clams due to the difficulties of the company to secure flight with the Air Kiribati.
Reintroduction of Seaweed new strain (Maumere strain)
Tabuaeran is the main seaweed producing island and currently represent about 95% of the tota production in Kiribati. In the Gilbert group seaweed production was very active in the late 90s to early 2000 however the production fell dramatically due to the unfavorable weather condition resulted by the El Nino. To revive the seaweed in the Gilbert group a new strain of seaweed (Mamure strain) was reintroduced in 2012. This strain was better adapted to heat stress and has shown promising growth results in Ambo, Abaiang and Aranuka.
Similar strain was introduced to Kiritimati last year and it is anticipated that the new strain will reach Tabuaeran sometimes this year.
Currently there are two seaweed projects ongoing. The Dversification and Revitalization of seaweed Industry in the Pacific Islands by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Revitalization of Seaweed Farming sector in Kiribati Island by FAO.
The ACIAR project activity includes:
The FAO project on the other hand is looking at:
The future plan is to revive and expand the seaweed farming to all interested farmers in Tarawa and the outer islands to support the diversification of seaweed farming in local communities.
Introduction of Sandfish sea cucumber
Sandfish sea cucumber was introduced from Fiji in early 2013 for the sandfish enhancement program. This is a new and interesting program since it is the first of its kind in the region. The aim of the introduction is to trail out sandfish spawning for the community farming using sea pens. Once successful this could provide another income generating activity for local communities.
The activity has attracted the interest of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and has recruited one project officer to take on the project. To date the 3 successful spawning run has been conducted. However due to high mortality during the settlement only a handful of juveniles were obtained during the first run. The first and second run has resulted in about 300 juvenile which have been trialed out in Tabuki, North Tarawa (Broken bridge) and Eco Farm. The third spawning run was done last month and the juveniles would be used to trail out a community farming in Abaiang.
Current activities and work program
Focus for the next 4 years