14 Sep 2006

Research into sustainable aquaculture in PNG in wake of destructive mining practices

3:54 pm on 14 September 2006

Australian scientists have begun research into sustainable aquaculture projects for villagers affected by environmental damage from the giant OK Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea.

It is estimated that chemicals used by the mine to crush the rock and extract copper have killed up to 90% of indigenous fish in the Fly River.

The villagers are dependent on the remaining fish for food and income.

The manager of the Australian development programme, Jacqui Wright, says one of the first projects her team is working on is a study of the barramundi.

She says this follows the realisation that the villagers had been catching and selling the fish for income.

"It was realised that we actually needed to do a bit of study on the barramundi in the Fly River and the mouth of the river to be able to develop a fisheries management plan so the fisheries could be sustainable."

Jacqui Wright.