Mr Havini Vira from the Regional Development Department of Ok Tedi Mining Limited, Papua New Guinea was awarded the 2006 ATSE Crawford Fund Fellowship.
Mr Havini ViraMr Vira spent three months at the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries’ Freshwater Firsheries and Aquaculture Centre at Walkamin. There he developed new skills in aquaculture, one of the faster growing rural industries in the highlands of PNG. The Fellowship provided the opportunity to continue his collaborative relationship with the Queensland DPI&F and ACIAR.
In addition to joining the aquaculture team led by Mr Brett Herbert at the Freshwater Fisheries and Aquaculture Centre, Mr Vira also worked with the team at the Northern Fisheries Centre, Cairns, and the Bribie Island Aquaculture Research Centre, near Brisbane, developing his extension skills and broadening his knowledge of aquaculture techniques and technologies employed in Queensland. At the FFAC bred fish and crustacean species common to both PNG and northern Australia, he participated in training workshops on fish fingerling production, and worked on improving barramundi culture techniques. Mr Vira also participated in the Australasian Aquaculture Conference in Adelaide, a unique opportunity to participate in a regional congress of aquaculture operators, researchers and regulators.
Mr Vira worked for seven years as a Fisheries Development Officer in the Eastern Highlands Province, breeding and conducting cage culture trials of tilapia, techniques which have been successfully transferred to local farmers. Mr Vira was also instrumental in development of aquaculture of carp and rainbow trout in PNG. More recently, with Ok Tedi’s Regional Development Department he has been investigating cage culture of barramundi on the Fly River floodplain. The current ACIAR project aims to develop aquaculture techniques for native fish and crustacean species (many of which are shared with Australia) for subsistence aquaculture in PNG, using species familiar to and favoured by the local people. His experience gained through the Crawford Fellowship with the same species in Australia will lead to development of hatchery and growout techniques in PNG for indigenous fishes, and improve protein availability to families throughout PNG.