CANADIAN PROJECT HELPS PROMOTE SHRIMP FARMING IN PACIFIC ISLANDS

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SUVA, Fiji (Oct. 28, 2002 –2 PINA Nius Online)---Forty people from the South Pacific region gathered at the University of the South Pacific campus in Suva to find out more about the potential for shrimp (sea prawn) farming.

Farming of shrimp Penaeus monodon is worth billions of dollars annually worldwide, with large industries in Asia, Australia and South America.

Fiji currently imports about 600 tons of shrimp each year, participants in the Canadian-funded workshop heard.

Shrimp expert Dr. Alec Forbes said that there is no need to clear mangroves or dig ponds near river mouths in order to grow shrimp. Open coasts with abundant clean seawater are much better for shrimp, they heard.

Dr. Forbes said one of the world’s most successful shrimp farms is on Coetivy Island in the Seychelles, a coral atoll with no rivers or mangrove. It has an environment similar to many small islands in the Pacific.

A competitive advantage enjoyed by Pacific islands is that they are free of the shrimp viral diseases that have caused huge financial losses by farmers in Asia, South America and Australia, participants heard.

The workshop was organized by the Marine Studies Program of the University of the South Pacific with funds provided under the Canada-South Pacific Ocean Development Project.

This is Canada’s major regional commitment to the Pacific islands. It is supporting 15 regional projects that include turtle conservation, graduate student scholarships, sustainable management of the tuna fishery and certification for the marine ornamentals trade.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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