Hope remains for French Polynesia's Hao aquaculture

3:17 pm on 21 December 2019

The French Polynesian president Edouard Fritch has again expressed his hope that the fish farm planned by a Chinese company on Hao atoll will be launched soon.

Edouard Fritch and Wang Chen

Edouard Fritch and Wang Chen Photo: Présidence de la Polynésie française

He has again met Wang Chen, whose Tahiti Nui Ocean Foods company is now expected to start construction on the atoll next year.

Initially forecast to cost $US1.5 billion and employing 10,000 people, the fish farm has for years been delayed as Tahiti Nui Ocean Foods kept amending its plans.

In February, Mr Fritch said he was worried but still optimistic that the project would be realised.

According to the latest plans, the downsized fish farm will produce 5000 tonnes of grouper and wrass a year from cages placed in the lagoon.

This week, the government expanded the list of live fish which may be imported, provided they are free of disease according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Until now it was only permitted to import aquarium fish.

There are still conflicting claims about how much feed is needed to farm the fish, with critics saying the plan is economically not viable and environmentally destructive.

The French Polynesian government prepared a zone for the company near the airport, which used to be run by the French military when it tested its nuclear weapons at Moruroa.

Tahiti Nui Ocean Foods has been given a 30-year tax holiday on the importation of materials and fuel.

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