$20m aquaculture bill

FIJI spends more than $20 million on the importation of aquaculture products.

Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau said they were currently working on securing 200 hectares of land at Korovatu in Macuata for brackish water aquaculture farming to reduce import expenses.

Mr Koroilavesau said aquaculture was a new interest for the ministry, adding that they had been identifying sites for the project.

“With the rising sea level, most of the land, about 200 hectares of land in Korovatu has been inundated by sea water,” he said.

“The implementation of aquaculture in areas like this will ensure that farmers who lose out on agriculture farming have a substitute form of livelihood.

“With the implementation of the project in the area, it will also ensure that farmers adapt to challenges brought by climate change.

Mr Koroilavesau said they had a lot of options including the farming of yawa or mullet for bait in long line fishing which was imported.

“We are looking at farming milk fish and shrimps in these sites because Fiji imports $20 million worth of shrimps overseas.

“However, Korovatu is state land and we are working with the Ministry of Lands to secure it including the office of the Commissioner North, and Labasa Fiji Sugar Corporation Mill.

Mr Koroilavesau said there was a lot of interest in aquaculture, adding that China injected close to $1 million for the development of aquaculture industry in Fiji.