15 May 2007

Fiji explores fish farming opportunities

2:08 pm on 15 May 2007

Fiji is looking to fish farming as a potential future export earner.

Officials from Fiji are among a group who are currently training in Thailand to learn more about farming coral fish such as grouper.

The opportunity has been organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, which quotes UN figures valuing current worldwide annual aquaculture production of grouper at around 60 million US dollars.

Fiji's Acting Director of Fisheries, Aisake Batibasaga, says his country sees huge potential both as a food resource and for live export, but he says there could be some specific problems such as cyclones:

"We have to design the technology that can withstand those cyclones and also we can have cages that can close up completely and let them sink to the bottom of the reef or the lagoon when there is when there are strong tidal or high energy waves during a cyclone."

Mr Batibasaga says agreements need to be arranged for the use of coastal areas and financial partners need to be found.

But he hopes fish farms can be set up in the next three to five years