Milne Bay tries seaweed farming

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, February 1, 2011

By GRACE AUKA UPNG journalism student
SEAWEED farming could be the next big thing in fisheries for maritime province Milne Bay, which commonly associated with the country’s bech-der mer industry.
Seaweed farming in Milne Bay has been trialed for lucrative US and European pharmaceutical beverage market. 
Seaweed Marine PNG Ltd, a company run by Malaysian Peter Hong Hi Chung, said there is potential in PNG to export seaweed to the overseas market.
Milne Bay’s fisheries support officer Noel Omari said Seaweed Maritime PNG Ltd was genuine about the investment so much and are actually importing some of the seaweed species largely found in neighbouring Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia to Milne Bay to be farmed.
Seaweed Marine PNG have been granted a one-year trial period which ends in May.  
And they are pressing on despite the major setback over the festive season at their first seaweed farming site at Netuli Island in the Maranatala LLG.
The company is working closely with customary landowners on projects that have also being trialed in a number of other Pacific nations but it is the first for PNG.
Chung said the Trobriand Islands was their choice of site but due to transport costs, they decided to start nearer to mainland Alotau using the long line system before they venture out to Kiriwina. 
He said if successful, they were willing to invest more than K30 million in the industry in Milne Bay during the next 10 to 15 years.
The project, backed by the National Fisheries Authority, is in its infant stage and once it takes off, it can provide a viable income base of the back of the very little effort because it is simple, is within the farming community, affordable means and can be sustained for the long term.