Kayangel is one of the sandy atoll islands in Palau. It is the northernmost state in the Republic of Palau, remotely located and separated by 20 kilometers of open sea from Babeldaob Island.

Throughout the times, the local residents depend on fishing and land agriculture to ensure local food supply. Despite significant efforts to protect biodiversity and marine resources, many marine resources and fisheries are exhibiting downward trends in abundance and productivity. Hence, the BMR-R.O.C (Taiwan) Aquaculture Project (AP) and The Natural Conservancy (TNC) have been promoting the pilot farmer program to launch aquaculture in Kayangel State.

To make sure food security in Palau can be achieved in a sustainable way, BMR/R.O.C AP project has been developing rabbit fish cage culture since 2015, and recently cooperated with the TNC to initiate a pilot project in Kayangel State. The BMR and the TNC had reviewed their in-state residency and capacity and selected three local individuals as pilot farmers, namely, Mr. Billy Graham Kemesong, Mr. Howard Renguul and Mr. Lazarus Meyar.

Funding support for the program such as the sea cage culture elements including the fish cage lumber materials, the actual fish holding nets, the foam floaters and the fish feed were made possible through an Alternative Livelihood grant from the TNC. BMR provided their usual support with the boat and fuel as well as the manpower to construct and deploy the fish cages. Rabbit fish fingerlings and technical support including important extension services are provided by the BMR-R.O.C (Taiwan AP) collaboration.

On Oct. 13, 2018, the BMR-R.O.C (Taiwan AP) and TNC had already finished the last pilot project fry (fingerling) distribution in Kayangel. Going forward, the three pilot farmers will demonstrate cage culture and accumulate database to promote and strengthen rabbit fish culture in the future.

Rabbitfish reproduction under AP is conducted by Taiwanese aquaculture experts as one of the Taiwan-Palau bilateral cooperation projects to help improve Palau’s food security and self-sustainability. In addition to AP, Taiwanese experts also operate Animal Production Project (APP), which focuses on livestock farming, and Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), which provides technical assistance in agricultural production. All interested in related farming projects are welcome to contact TTM (488-6557, 544-1616), AP (488-6994), APP (544-1201) or Taiwan Embassy (488-8150) for inquiries. (PR – Taiwan Embassy)