The Ministry of Fisheries in partnership with Japan Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Foundation, OFCF, are successful in breeding peanutfish beche-de-mer.
A jubilant Director of Fisheries, Mr James Teri says this is a great result for the Ministry and one which brings closer their dream of creating a new commodity for fish farmers in the country.
Meanwhile, the OFCF expert Dr Toru Komatsu, who leads the project, is equally grateful and excited about the achievement.
He says, breeding these animals is not easy as there are many factors that affect every step of the process.
Dr Komatsu says, previous attempts were unsuccessful but by improving the hatchery environment, his team was able to successfully take the beche-de-mer larvae through their different stages of development.
He adds, the larvae have reached settlement stage and are more than 130 days old.
Sea cucumber breeding is not new in Solomon Islands. In the late 1990s, the species locally known as sandfish was successfully produced by then ICALRM at Aruligo, west Guadalcanal.
Although it should have been easy for the Ministry to breed sandfish, the Management decided to breed peanut-fish as this is more common and over the years has earned a relatively higher price than sandfish.
The breeding programme was made possible with financial assistance from OFCF to the Ministry and a partnership relationship with Hatare Community of Marau Sound who provided the adult peanutfish animals for the breeding program.
The Japanese-funded project will be reviewed in February 2014 but the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, Dr Christain Ramofafia is confident- funding will roll on depending on the project’s success.