The Micronesian Association for Sustainable Aquaculture (MASA) and Kiribati agreed this week on national documents leading to a regional business development strategy for aquaculture in Micronesia. This is the final step of a regional project financed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and implemented by the Pacific Community since 2017.
According to FAO, global fish consumption has grown rapidly, reaching to over 20 kg per capita in recent decades with much higher rates in the Pacific. Since 1961, the annual global growth of fish consumption has been twice as high as population growth. This demonstrates the ongoing, significant role of fisheries and aquaculture in terms of food and nutrition security across the world, including the Pacific region.
As such, in Micronesia, FAO together with the Pacific Community, are working with MASA countries and Kiribati through this regional initiative to develop strategies that will help strengthen the sustainability and success of aquaculture operations, in particular, from a business investment perspective.
“The national plans developed through the project recommend priority investments and planning for aquaculture for the countries”, said Mele Tauati, FAO Fisheries Consultant. “They highlight specific key areas of technical assistance and pre-conditions that need to be addressed to attract investment, such as appropriate legal frameworks, market analyses and applied research and development for certain species of interest.”
There are unique dimensions to every aquaculture business, such as its location, breed of fish, capacity, operations plan, and management team that need to be taken into consideration. These key components, in addition to several others, literally differentiate a failing operation from a successful one capable of scaling.
“Having an aquaculture business strategy will help these countries to acquire financing to start or expand an aquaculture business through third party financing and internal strategy.” said Robert Jimmy, the Pacific Community Aquaculture adviser.
The national strategies and a regional strategy presented at this meeting will highlight common priorities and issues faced in MASA countries and Kiribati, some of which may also apply to the rest of the Micronesian subregion. Interested and collaborating partners will also have an opportunity to learn about these issues and priorities identified for potential support in the near future. (SPC)