By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THE Mopomb clans in the Mul district of Western Highlands province is in mourning after a fishing project that had the community excited was destroyed by flood caused by heavy rain.
The clan, through a self help project, built 16 ponds to breed fish which was establishing a good market among businesses and residents of Mt Hagen.
The ponds held 1,500 species of fish namely carp, golden carp and talapis.
Most weighed between 3 and 4 kg and were ready for sale when continuous heavy rain last Wednesday flooded the ponds which were fed by the Illimp creek.
The overflowing ponds allowed the fish to be released into the Baiyer River.
Michael Wan, a project coordinator who spoke on behalf of his clansmen involved in the project, said it was a trial project but they were seeing good results until this disaster struck.
Mr Wan said recently, they took 17 fish from one of the ponds and sold them at the local markets and and earned K200.
He said they sold a fish for K15-K20 depending on its weight and size.
Mr Wan said it was a community project involving youths, children and elderly people in the Tigil village.
It had been running for two years.
He said early this month, they received K10,000 from their local MP and Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi to expand their project.
He said the people were in mourning because all their hard work had gone to waste.
Mr Wan claimed that early this year they approached fisheries officers and the Western Highlands provincial administration to buy them some cement bags to build a
concrete support around the ponds, but they received no feed back.
He said if the provincial administration and fisheries authority come good, they would not have lost their fish.
They will reconstruct the ponds, and do it all over again.