Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has highlighted the importance of developing aquaculture for rural development and food security in light of pressures placed on the country’s fisheries resources.
Speaking at celebrations commemorating Guadalcanal’s second appointed day Tuesday this week at Mamara, Sogavare said fisheries is a major sector not only on Guadalcanal Province but for the whole country and commended the ongoing work in developing policy and regulatory frameworks to sustain and manage the countries fisheries between the National Government and the Guadalcanal Provincial Government.
Aquaculture, also known as fish farming involves the cultivation of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants under controlled conditions.
Aquaculture is a major policy of the government implemented on Guadalcanal with more than 10 million dollars spent so far in developing this sector at the Aruligo Fisheries Facility in Northwest Guadalcanal.
The Aruligo Fisheries facility is moving into its productive phase and will soon become fully operational and the Prime Minister urges Guadalcanal Province to partner in this undertaking as Aquaculture indicates promising economic activity that will boost the local economy in the years ahead.
“We anticipate increase demand for food therefore the need to produce more food. Aquaculture therefore plays a crucial role in meeting the growing domestics and global demand for seafood. Therefore, it will help to supplement wild-caught fish, which have faced declining stocks due to overfishing and habitat degradation,” Sogavare said.
The Prime Minister said breeding and raising fish in controlled environments reduces pressure on wild fish populations and supports ecosystem conservation, adding that quaculture reduces the need for excessive fishing of wild species, allowing fish stocks to recover and maintain their natural balance.
Sogavare further highlighted that Aquaculture creates job opportunities and supports livelihoods in coastal and rural areas, particularly ideal for Guadalcanal Province as it fosters economic growth and will be an essential source of revenue for communities.
According the Prime Minister, another interesting aspect to Aquaculture is its ‘predictability to harvest” as it allows for precise control over the environment, feed, and breeding conditions, resulting in more predictable and consistent harvests compared to wild fisheries, which can be subject to natural fluctuations.
“This particular fisheries will breed innovation and research, a trait that we want to instill within any of our development aspirations. The industry encourages research and innovation in areas like fish health, nutrition, and environmental sustainability, which can have broader applications in marine science and biology,” Sogavare said.
Aquaculture projects will foster rural development by providing employment opportunities and income diversification, thereby reducing migration to urban areas.