Fiji Time: 12:06 PM on Tuesday 20 February

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Pond to plate initiative a success

Monika Singh
Thursday, September 14, 2017

WITH an objective to showcase and encourage local tourism operators to use local ingredients such as freshwater prawns, grass carp and tilapia in their guests menu, Pacific Ocean Culture held a special luncheon —"pond to plate" — for members of the Skal International Suva yesterday.

Pacific Ocean Culture training manager Cathy Joyce said the Skal members meeting yesterday was just about letting them see the environmental practices that were being practised at the farm so they would know the quality of products their customers were getting.

A chef by trade, Ms Joyce said she understood what was needed in different menus and was able to talk to other chefs on what they were looking for in their menus.

Pacific Ocean Culture (Fiji) is a multi-species hatchery producing finfish and invertebrates.

It also includes seaweeds, giant clams and sea cucumbers for sea ranching, community and commercial aquaculture in unison with a community based culture and "buy back" program within Fiji.

Ms Joyce said Skal members were quite excited about the program yesterday and were happy with the fact that the farm was able to provide them with quality produce and guarantee regular supply so that they can include it on their menus.

Present at the event were stakeholders from major resorts and small operators who sampled the dishes prepared for them with fresh farm tilapia, eels and freshwater prawns.

Pacific Ocean Culture operator Paul Ryan, who is a University of Tasmania's aquaculture graduate and specialist, said they moved to the Navua farm facility in October last year and now their annual harvest for tilapia was 400 tonnes while 100 tonnes of freshwater prawns were harvested annually.

Mr Ryan said they had done research on producing kai and their current research included a study on the eel population.

The company also plans to export tilapia however Ms Joyce said they would continue supplying prawns to the local market as there were some major limitations and requirements to exporting prawns.

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