By Serah Aupong – EMTV News, Port Moresby
The National Fisheries College in Kavieng celebrated a milestone with the graduation of its first batch of Aquaculture students.
The certificate one competency based training is the first of its kind for the college and the country.
After a month of studies at the National Fisheries College in Kavieng, the 20 students from around the country had an extra reason to celebrate this festive season, as pioneer graduands of this basic level aquaculture course.
Aquaculture is not new to PNG. Since its introduction into the country it has taken root. Not only in the coastal areas of PNG but also in the highlands provinces. However, in terms of formal recognised training, this is the first time a group of people are graduating with a Certificate 1 in Aquaculture.
This group of students represents the aquaculture industry, either as model fish farmers or aquaculture extension officers in their provinces.
Kila Jonah, has a fish farming operation in the Sirinumu area of Central province. This operation is around 10 years old. While she has been successful in raising and selling fish from her farm, Kila finds this training enhances not only her skill sets in handling the fish but also more practical commercial tips to grow her farm.
For Department of Agriculture and Livestock officer in Simbu Province, Daniel Tiene, this training adds more knowledge and skills which he will use in his extension services. A set of those skills is in Post Handling Operation (PHO) where farmers are taught how to handle fish correctly once they are mature so that the fish is in the best condition when sold to market.
While the graduation itself was a small affair; for the college and the country, it represents a significant milestone in the industry.
Haviri Vari, NFA’s Inland Aquaculture Manger stationed in the Eastern Highlands, said during the graduation ceremony that positive social developments have already occurred due to aquaculture in the Highlands. He said “tribal war has stopped” and they have seen improvements in the nutrition of children.
“So I think that is something that is actually contributing to development in this country and your sitting here gives me the confidence that there is a future,” he said while addressing the students as keynote speaker.
Principal of the college Jeff Kinch said, “This first certificate 1 course paves the way now for us developing further courses and higher courses for aquaculture and hopefully we can get that adequately started not only for the food security aspect but also in the commercial sense.”