BMR Rabbit fish hatchery extension.

Ngerdubech Corporation of Ngatpang State is the largest aquaculture farm in Palau and owns a 14 hectare brackish water pond and 21 floating fish cages used to culture milkfish or bangus or aol as it called in Palauan. According to Taiwan Embassy record, it was during 2004~2007, that the Ngatpang State Marine Resources Authority started the Ngatpang Aquaculture Project (NSG State Dock Improvement & Aqua Project Phase I ~IV), which the Republic of China (Taiwan) provided 485,615 USD in project funding. Thereafter, the farm was taken over by Ngerdubech Corporation, Ltd. in 2011.

After more than one decade later, the Taiwan Government, through its cooperation with the Bureau of Marine Resources’ Aquaculture Project (AP), is connecting with this farm again.

On November 20, 2019, AP experts delivered 2100 rabbit fish fries to one of their floating cages just around the corner from the port of Ngatpang. After mastering and stabilizing rabbit fish fries production for almost three years by the replacement experts at the Palau National Aquaculture Center located in the BMR Malakal compound, the AP is now able to provide a stable amount of fries to a farmer needing replenishment every month. After two years of promotion and observation, the BMR Director thinks the AP must now closely cooperate with identified capable farmers to make sure culture of kelsebuul and meyas can be successful in the Palau Archipelago.

According to Palau’s National Marine Sanctuary laws in 2020, an area encompassing 500,000 square kilometers will be closed to fishing and thereby directly influencing Ngerdubech fish farm’s major activity of culturing the mikfish for bait.

“Trying out rabbit fish culture in the corporation’s Ngatpang floating cages at this time is a good opportunity for both the Ngerdubech Corporation Ltd. and the BMR-ROC Aquaculture (AP) Project. In 2019, BMR has begun construction on the expansion of the rabbit fish hatchery facility located between BMR and the MOJ Marine Law Enforcement Compound. When the construction project is completed in the middle of 2020, we expect to increase our fries production and we will be able to provide more fries to all the farmers. No doubt the demand for fishing bait will be affected as the number of foreign fishing vessels will be reduced when they will be restricted to fish only in the twenty percent of Palau’s EEZ that will be designated as the domestic fishing zone.” proclaimed BMR Director Leon Remengesau.

“Between now and then, we are hoping the growers at Ngerdubech Corporation can discover the rabbit fish as a worthwhile commercial aquaculture species and decide to rear the klsebuul as a viable activity to compensate for the reduced fishing bait demand that is expected to happen next year,” concluded Director Remengesau. (Taiwan Embassy Release)