Milkfish will soon be reared in a commercially viable and environment-friendly way in Tonga. The FAO assisted joint- project to rear milkfish aims to develop a sustainable source of food and income for island communities. The communities have been involved in steps of the process and received training in the operation of the farm as well as in business management. Fisheries staff from the Government of Tonga visited the Philippines as part of a study tour to gain essential knowledge and skills. They received training on milkfish husbandry practices including feed formulation and preparation, and visited private milkfish fish-farms.
Construction of farm complete
Under FAO guidance, staff from the Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Forests and Fisheries, and local community workers completed the construction of a milkfish farm in Sopu, Tongatapu. The farm consists of a nursery pond (480sq.m) and a transitional or stunting pond (1,260sq.m) which will be stocked with thousands of milkfish fry. The fish-farm is also equipped with life support systems and water quality monitoring equipment.
In preparation for the incoming milkfish fry the pond was eradicated of unwanted species including predator fishes. Pond fertilization was applied a week after the eradication process to allow sufficient growth of planktons.
Milkfish soon to arrive
Presently, transport logistics are being processed for sourcing out milkfish fry from Christmas Island, Kiribati. Initially, 8,000 to 10,000 milkfish fry are requested and will be stocked in the nursery pond to demonstrate the milkfish culture technology to further enhance the skills of Fisheries staff and train recipient farmers.