Home' Partners : Partners: Development partnerships with Indonesia Contents 10
ISSUE FOUR 2015 PARTNERS
TILAPIA FARMING IN SULAWESI
Tilapia is making its way into Indonesian coastal
aquaculture, with help from ACIAR projects
on adapting tilapia—a freshwater fish—to
brackishwater environments and improvements
in farming efficiency.
Far from Aceh, on the island of Sulawesi in
Indonesia’s east, Mike Rimmer, project manager
for ACIAR’s aquaculture diversification project, is
confident about the future of tilapia aquaculture.
He believes tilapia aquaculture will only
grow in importance because it provides food
and jobs in a world of declining fish stocks and
“Our real objective is to develop and evaluate
simple production diversification options for
small-scale pond farmers in South Sulawesi and
Aceh,” Mike Rimmer says.
“Another advantage of farming tilapia is that it’s
ecologically sustainable and relatively cheap
DIVERSIFICATION OF SMALLHOLDER COASTAL
AQUACULTURE IN INDONESIA
With many brackishwater pond aquaculture
enterprises in Indonesia going out of production or
producing only limited quantities of shrimp, ACIAR-
funded research partnered with Indonesia to find the
reasons for this decline.
Research revealed that while small-scale shrimp
farms predominate in South Sulawesi, they only
contribute about 5% of total provincial shrimp
production. While some farms now use better
management practices to overcome production
constraints, successful implementation depends on
meeting specific site-related, socioeconomic and
logistical criteria and a large proportion of farms are
expected to fail to meet this criteria. As a result, a need
was identified for alternative production strategies.
This project tests the economic viability of alternative
commodities for brackishwater pond culture such as
tilapia, milkfish, rabbitfish, crabs and seaweed. It involves
evaluation trials in South Sulawesi and Aceh provinces
that build on previous and ongoing ACIAR projects.
The work will also encompass mariculture (the
cultivation of marine organisms) development on
offshore islands of Aceh province, particularly Pulau
Simuelue, and growth trials with grouper in collaboration
with the fish seed production centre on Pulau Simuelue
to promote the use of more sustainable culture practices
developed in other ACIAR-supported work.
OUR INDONESIAN PARTNERS
n Brackishwater Aquaculture Development Centres,
Takalar and Ujung Batee
n Directorate-General of Aquaculture
n Gadjah Mada University
n Hasanuddin University
n Research Institute for Coastal Aquaculture
n Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney
Project leader: Professor Richard Whittington,
Mike Rimmer and Dasep Hasbullah.
As the call for midday prayer trills in the
distance, field officer Dasep Hasbullah points out
tilapia fish in brackishwater ponds at an ACIAR
trial site located about 100 kilometres north of
Makassar, South Sulawesi.
“Here we trial selectively bred strains of tilapia,”
he says, explaining that the ponds at these trial
sites contain mixed fish: tilapia and milkfish.
“Sometimes the tilapia fish in the ponds have
died due to high salinity,” he says.
“So now we are co-culturing milkfish and
tilapia together. This reduces the risk for farmers, as
the milkfish survive even in high salinities.”
The milkfish is another important seafood
in Indonesia. Its ability to thrive in varying
water conditions makes it an ideal fish to be
grown in the confines of inland ponds, with
harvest occurring when the fish grow to 20–40
centimetres in length. However, its market price
is lower than tilapia so, for farmers with less saline
ponds, tilapia is the better option.
Field project coordinator Hasanuddin.
The main goal is to increase the income for
farmers who, for a range of reasons, are unable to
farm shrimp in their brackishwater ponds.
Socioeconomic survey data from South
Sulawesi indicates that 53% of farming
households have a total monthly income
less than A$60.
In Aceh, about 50% of farming households fall
below the poverty threshold.
Social benefits will accrue from increased
social stability due to improved employment
opportunities in rural areas and greater access to
seafood, with resultant health benefits. n
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