19 Mar 2012

Pacific nations warned to consider market before starting aquaculture products

8:27 am on 19 March 2012

A report into marine aquaculture says Pacific nations need to be wary of losing money in sea farming enterprises.

The head of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's Marine Resources says a lot of development projects have not delivered the expected returns with a drop in production over the last three years.

Mike Batty says one of the key faults is the lack of clear economic analysis and people need to look much more closely at what's going to be produced, where it's going to be sold, the market price and labour costs.

He says pearls and prawns are the the biggest producers in the Pacific but current high prices for seaweed are an example of how the involvement of private enterprise is key.

"Another strong recommendation of the report is the need to involve the private sector at an early stage in planning, research, development. And the example I just mentioned, seaweed culture, the drive for a lot of the development here is now from private companies who want to buy the seaweed, and that's always an encouraging way to go."

But Mike Batty warns seaweed culture is really only a good option in places where people's labour earnings expectations are not very high.