Aquaculture Division within the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources offers opportunities to create new livelihoods and export commodities.
Population growth and depletion of wild stocks of aquatic resources have helped promote the importance of aquaculture as an alternative means of supplying food and livelihoods in rural areas. Also aquaculture has contributed in building economic growth of the Nation through export commodities. In the Aquaculture division we provide extension support, technical assistance and advice on aquatic farming techniques on marine and fresh water priority commodities.
In mariculture the current priority commodities are seaweed (Kappaphycusalvarezii) which is targeted towards improving the livelihood of people and sea cucumber purposely for stock enhancement.
For fresh and brackish water, Mozambique tilapia is the priority commodity aiming to help meet future food security needs. Aquaculture division is also collaborating with other institutions on several aquaculture initiatives.
1. Seaweed (Kappaphycus alvarezii)
An initial project on the feasibility of seaweed farming in Solomon Islands was done in 1988 by Ministry of Fisheries and Marine resources however grazing by fish was the limiting factor that time. A second attempt to farm seaweed was launched under the EU RFEP diversification program in 2002 with continuous funding to year 2008. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine resources had then took the lead in facilitating the farming of seaweed until recently in 2012 when MSSIF provided support through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
The technical advice, trainings and materials supplied by MSSIF project in collaboration with MFMR has resulted in Solomon Islands being the largest seaweed producing nation in the Pacific. Production has increased since the initial period of seaweed farming and is expected to increase as new farm sites develop. The increase in production has greatly increased livelihood and income opportunities for rural farming communities within the Solomon Islands.
The Wagina seaweed producing area remains the largest production centre in the country producing in excess of 50 tonnes per month whilst new farming areas developed and farmers trained in other farm areas. In 2014 the annual seaweed production was 1,521.2 metric tonne with the farm gate value of $5,614,777.71 SBD.
Six companies have been issued a seaweed export license for this year 2015. License for seaweed export is $10,000.00 SBD of which Licensing Division awards license and overseas conditions. Currently there are six provinces which are engaged in seaweed farming namely, Choiseul, Western, Central, Malaita, Isabel and Guadalcanal Province. All in all the total number of farmers is 543 for Wagina, Manaoba, Marau and Kia excluding other new farming areas.
Availability of seaweed buying agents in the rural areas is one of the challenges that farmers experience particularly in developing farm sites where production is not great. The presence of buying agents enables the continuous trading and producing of seaweed as it motivates farmers. Moreover the vast spread of islands in the Solomons makes some potential farming areas inaccessible for transportation making it impossible and expensive for movement of the seaweed from rural areas to town for marketing.
World price of seaweed is also another factor which cannot be controlled and does affect the beach prices of seaweeds. This has resulted in the rise and fall of seaweed beach price over the years.
Brochure - Seaweed (PDF)
2. Tilapia (Oreochromismossambicus)
Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromismossambicus) is a non-native fish to the Solomon Islands that is currently cultured at a low scale within the country and is either consumed by the farmers or sold in local markets. Farming of this particular strain of tilapia is done Malaita and Guadalcanal. Mozambique tilapia is farmed and harvested for food and income by households particularly in the rural areas of Malaita.
Due to the slow growth of Mozambique tilapia, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources is looking into farming Nile tilapia known as the Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia (GIFT) (Oreochromisniloticus) for its fast growth rate. Nile tilapia has been successfully farmed in the neighbouring Pacific Island countries and has been agreed upon by general stakeholders that this particular species should be introduced within the nation. Further discussions and Policies need to be finalised and acceptable biosecurity standards that are to include the development of a small freshwater finfish quarantine facility to be managed by MFMR.
Brochure - Tilapia Feed (PDF)
3. Partner and supporting links
The Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Foundation (OFCF) resources management project established a marine hatchery with a view to research the biology of sea cucumber species Stichopushorrens commonly known with trade name peanut fish. Research work has successfully closed the life cycle of peanut fish and produced small numbers of juveniles. Currently research is ongoing to identify larval feed requirements to improve survival and investigate feed quality and quantities required for seed production. The juvenile peanut fish produced have been used for restocking trial at Marau, northeast end of Guadalcanal Island in the Guadalcanal Province.
Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF) in collaboration with MFMR is currently working on a three (3) year seaweed project since 2012 with the goal to enhance and expand the seaweed farming sector to increase the livelihoods of coastal communities where sea weed production is sustainable.
World Fish (WF) is collaborating with MFMR in “Developing Inland Aquaculture in Solomon Islands” to investigate the potential of culture of Milkfish and Tilapia.