Inland Aquaculture Project shines at the 60th Goroka Show in PNG
The ACIAR inland aquaculture project showcased its activities and findings to thousands of people at the 60th Goroka Show.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) Inland Aquaculture Project, led by GWI's Associate Professor Jes Sammut from the Centre for Ecosystem Science, and Mr Jacob Wani from the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) in PNG, showcased its project activities at the 60th Goroka Show. The show is one of Papua New Guinea's (PNG) leading cultural events with over 100 tribes coming together for three days of 'sing sing' performances.
The project team and collaborating fish farmers distributed thousands of quality fish fingerlings and provided information on cooking fish, fish husbandry, fish feed making, fingerling transport and pond design and construction. A fish barbeque drew large crowds and was used to foster interest in producing and eating farmed fish. Until recently, many people in the PNG highlands had only eaten canned fish; unsurprisingly, the stall had a constant queue of people.
The project team, NFA aquaculture officers, farmers, ex-prisoners from the Fish for Prisons Program under the project, and Department of Agriculture and Livestock staffed the stall. Family members helped to cook and sell fish.
The project team conducted its annual review on the day after the Goroka Show to plan the next steps of the project. NFA and RDS Partners are halfway through one of the largest sector-based surveys ever conducted in PNG and the rest of the team is about to embark on a series of fish nutrition and fish husbandry trials. UNSW-GWI, UniTech (Lae) and ANSTO staff will work closely with NFA to run these trials.
Fish farming has changed my life, and now I’m here, as part of the project team, to encourage others to farm fish.
Moxi, an ex-prisoner from the Asaro community, speaking at the Goroka Show in PNG.
"On this trip NFA engaged and funded Cinematic Science to professionally film the narratives of our beneficiaries. NFA intends to release a video that will communicate the social and economic impacts of our project in PNG. Over the last 8 years, we have fostered and facilitated a fourfold increase in fish farming in impoverished areas, and we are now seeing significant positive changes in many communities." A/Prof Sammut says.
The team visited various sites to film stakeholders who were keen to share their life story and how aquaculture has made a difference. "We hear, time and time again, that through our project, people have been able to improve their lifestyle and livelihood," says Brother Joe Alois from the project team.
"The ACIAR project has helped bring peace and prosperity to my village. We now farm, not fight," Jacob Towa, from Nebilyer Valley says.
"Through the project, I have progressed from being an entry-level fish farmer to now holding an accredited fish farming certificate. The fish farm is now the heart of my community," continues John Nekints, an elder from Warala Village.
The successes of the project have been celebrated and recognised in many ways. Sister Pauline Kagl, from the Sisters of Notre Dame, was honoured for her work at the CPL Pride of PNG Awards at Parliament House in September 2016. Sister Pauline was one of five women in PNG recognised for her work in the community. She received the Education Role Model Award for her work in fish farming and personal viability training. Sister Pauline is a project team member and works closely with the scientists to translate research into information that is useful to farmers.