Numerous communities in Papua New Guinea are dependent on the coastline marine resources for the livelihoods of their families. Whilst coastal waters, reef and fish stocks are comparatively healthy, communities are failing to capitalise on the potential economic and livelihood opportunities this environment provides. The development of mariculture opportunities in PNG can now be supported by the recently completed National Fisheries Authority (NFA) Nago Island marine hatchery and training facility, based in New Island. The role of the facility is to develop marine aquaculture opportunities for PNG and become a training centre for students from the National Fishing Centre (NFC). However, for the facility to achieve its goal there is an immediate need for capacity building from both technical and mariculture perspectives.
FIS/2010/017 will develop capacity at the Nago Island relating to the management of the facility and the husbandry of cultured marine organisms. It involves the training of facility staff at established research institutions with similar roles, expectations and support needs. It also includes basic culture trials using coral and spiny lobsters which will generate baseline information relating to their potential. These activities will draw on existing expertise within ACIAR projects, and bring positive benefits to Australia, which is developing similar industries with these commodities. This project will also provide contemporary textbooks and background material for Diploma level training at NFC. This will support future mariculture capacity through high quality local graduates.