In support of Palau’s aquacultural development in the area of commercial farming, the Cooperative Research & Extension of Palau Community College (PCC-CRE) recently implemented a project that supports the local production of milkfish (Chanos chanos). Milkfish are known as “aol” in Palau and their seeds are imported from outside sources. By establishing a local source for milkfish seeds, PCC-CRE can guarantee that local commercial fish farms continue in support of Palau’s economy. [[restrict]
The project was implemented in September 2014 with funding from the College of Micronesia (COM) Land Grant Program and the Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture (CTSA) based in Hawaii. It is also being conducted in collaboration with the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii Pacific University, Shallum Etpison Aquaculture, and the Ngerdubech Corporation that operates a milkfish farm in Ngatpang State.
The project began by installing a 30x30ft. floating cage stocked with forty-four (44) pieces of milkfish brood in Ngatpang State. After two (2) years, the eggs were fully matured into breeders that started to spawn and successfully produce hundreds of quality milkfish eggs. The eggs were transported to the PCC Multi-Species Hatchery in Ngermetengel, Ngeremlengui State where a series of larval rearing trials was conducted. The larval rearing trial is a simple and reliable technique for milkfish fry production (fry refers to a fish that has reached a stage where its yolk-sac has almost disappeared and its swim bladder is operational to the point where the fish can actively feed itself).
About 80,000 healthy milkfish fry were produced from the eggs within the months of May, October, and December of last year. The highest survival rate that was achieved during development was 46.25%. These milkfish fry are stocked at the fish ponds in Ngatpang State for further monitoring & evaluation of their growth as well as survival during their nursery & grow-out phase.
The establishment of a broodstock facility and the successful spawning & local production of milkfish fry informs the public that milkfish farming could become sustainable without relying on seedstock from sources outside of Palau. The continued collaboration of Palau Community College with the commercial fishing industry of Palau has also provided an opportunity to share the experience, knowledge, and skills on broodstock management & hatchery techniques for various aquaculture species that are economically important in the country.
For more information regarding the milkfish fry production project or other projects being conducted by PCC-CRE, please call the PCC-CRE Main Office at (tel): 488-2746/4983 or call Palau Community College at (tel): 488-2470 or 2471. [/restrict]