Anxious to improve farming practices

BY JOAN BAILEY

A breeding specialist from the National Agricultural Research Institute wants to improve fish farming breeding practices by establishing a sustained and supported fish breeding program on an annual basis.

NARI Livestock Specialist Arthur Roberts revealed this after he returned from studying in Australia on the Australian Leadership Awards scholarship with an MSc in Aquaculture and coursework.

He said 85% of the farms visited from the highlands to the lowlands are usually hobby fish farmers.

He said the interest is there but the “know-how” is lacking, such as stocking rates (how many fish should I put in my fish pond), breeding (how can I raise my fish to produce more baby fish) and fish pond constructions (should I just dig a hole and put water in it).

“Small fish communities of around 20,000 to 50,000 fish farmers or farms in PNG are based on fish ponds.

“Fish farming is relatively new with a lot of underdeveloped skills and abilities, so NARI’s case is to target areas of research that can improve production outputs,” Roberts said.

Thus, he said, the skills and knowledge acquired can contribute to value chain development in NARI’s strategic implementation plan.

He said one of the constraints of fish farming is the unavailability and access to quality fingerlings.
“Tilapia is the most preferred and manageable breeder, but PNG is geographically difficult to move to farms that have supply potential.

“However, farms don’t have the capacity to generate a supply of seed stocks for farms or don’t have the market facilities to allow for this supply-demand complex,” Roberts added.

He said that establishing fish breeding programs in NARI while incorporating targeted research work facilitates both ends to provide quality fish while performing work relevant to the strategic implementation plans of the NARI. NARI.

He said that as long as there is a relevant research agenda aligned with a fish multiplication unit, support and sustainability is guaranteed.

“I am grateful to NARI’s senior management and training committee, staff at Flinders University, the Australian awards team in PNG, Canberra and Adelaide.

“Working for eight years with NARI and having good mentors prepared me well for my studies.”

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