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MADANG, Papua New Guinea (February 2, 2000 – Post-Courier)---After three years of investment and effort, the recent decision by Ian Middleton, the managing director of Madang-based PNG Aquaculture, to commercially farm barramundi, has borne fruit.

Located at Dylup Plantation estate, on the north coast of Madang, PNG Aquaculture has induced the female barramundi broodstock to spawn 1.5 million eggs, a first for Papua New Guinea.

Two hundred thousand larvae have been retained in the hatchery for full commercial production, and Aquaculture anticipates growing out 100,000 fish from this first course of spawning in earthen (salt water) ponds for both the domestic and international markets -- Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Plate-size barramundi are expected to be on the market by June this year.

Given the pristine waters of the Bismark Sea, coupled with ideal year-round tropical ocean temperatures for culturing barramundi, PNG Aquaculture anticipates producing best quality barramundi in less time than Australian farmers. The consequent reduction in production costs will allow PNG Aquaculture to compete successfully on the premium quality Australian fish market. It also expects to supply the domestic market with fresh barramundi, cheaper than the premium white fillet fish.

Mr. Middleton, a third generation of the Middleton family in Madang, said, "Chris O'Keefe and I have been able to use cutting-edge technology from the barramundi industry to boost the fledgling status of aquaculture.

"We look forward to supplying PNG, and earning export revenues with the venture."

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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