In an absolutely newsworthy occasion, on March 2, 2020 the community of Ngchesar State saw the harvest and result of its first rabbit fish aquaculture effort involving the state government as the fish cage farmer. The state governor, traditional chiefs and council members were on hand to witness and join in the activity. As the first rabbit fish pilot project of the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) in Ngchesar State, the harvested cage only took 7 months to culture and as it turned out, over 90 % of the individuals in the fish cage matured with ripe eggs, i.e., “ngarngii a desal”. The noticeably successful rearing operation clearly reflected the excellent performance of the state employees rearing the rabbit fish.

Through the effective implementation by Governor Florencio Adelbai, the bottomline and recommended feeding ratio of three times a day following the cage management procedures set by aquaculture industry standards produced a shorter culture time and ideal sized fish.

Although BMR Director Leon Remengesau was elsewhere that day inspecting the deployment of three more rabbit fish cages to add to the total in the Republic, the BMR-Taiwan Aquaculture Project (AP) experts Jack Lin and Carlos Chiu were in Karmaliang, Ngchesar to witness and document the harvest. The BMR Director was quick to label the harvest a great success upon hearing the experts’ first hand report and reviewing the images taken.

With the excellent continuous feeding, another fish cage of the state is scheduled for harvest in the following two to three months. At this point in the pilot project, the BMR-Taiwan AP program finds the state farmers well trained and gaining the necessary understanding of aquaculture concepts.  “The performance and the result of the first harvest can serve as a good example for other pilot growers around the country. Hopefully, the Governor discovers rearing the rabbit fish worthwhile for the state and will continue the pioneering effort. We need more growers like him to be able to build a truly sustainable industry in Palau for the sake of a little income generation and food security,” the BMR Director said.