Walter Lini’s vision – Marine hatchery launched in Santo
The Department of Fisheries has launched a VT20 million mariculture facility in Luganville on Santo to breed fish, fresh water prawns, sea cucumbers and shells.
The hatchery will supply young stock to aquaculture farms and into the wild.
The Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry and Biosecurity, Moses Amos, says the launching of the Luganville facility was a proud moment for Vanautu.
He says the late Father Walter Lini had instructed the department to develop a hatchery during his time as Vanuatu’s first Prime Minister.
Mr Amos says mariculture (salt water breeding) and aquaculture (fresh water breeding) had started in Vanuatu 30 years ago.
He says, at that time, operating hatcheries was a challenge because the nation did not have trained experts, whereas today, many Ni-Vanuatu have studied marine science in overseas universities.
“I want to thank the staff of the fisheries department who have kept Father Lini’s dream alive,” Mr Amos said at the launching ceremony.
“This facility shows our international partners, especially the technicians who came often to help the ministry to establish something like this, that Vanuatu has the human resources to develop and operate such a facility.”
Fisheries Department Director, William Naviti, says supporting mariculture is one of his department’s key roles.
He says with 70 per cent of Vanuatu’s territory being ocean, many families depend on marine life for their food and livelihood.
Mr Naviti says an earlier mariculture facility in Port Vila built by the department with Japanese Government support had been discontinued so the department has shifted its breeding work to Santo.
“With the Santo facility we can start breeding marine organisms here – it is an opportunity to support the farming of fresh water prawns in the northern region where there is a lot of fresh water,” he said.
“While these prawns grow in fresh water, they need to deliver their babies in salt water.”
The Director General called on fisheries department staff to use the facility carefully, reminding them it had been expensive to build and that “the money of the Vanuatu people was invested in this facility”.
He asked staff to use the facility to drive national prosperity and economic development and food security in rural areas.
“I want this launch not to just be something we see on TV or read about in the paper or hear on radio. I want to ensure the launch today is a big step forward in farmers getting young prawns and fish to cultivate,” he said.
The Luganville hatchery is funded by the Vanuatu Government with the support of the SPC international development organisation – the Pacific Community.
The Department of Fisheries will transfer some of its Port Vila staff to Santo to manage the new facility.