In Palau, communities are working on aquaculture like growing giant clams to take pressure off of reef fisheries.
Juvenile Giant Clam: In Palau, communities are working on aquaculture like growing giant clams to take pressure off of reef fisheries. ©: Megan Ryan/The Nature Conservancy

Stories in the Pacific Islands

Aquaculture in Palau

We are helping communities develop aquaculture to take the pressure off reef fisheries.

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Globally, more than 68 percent of fisheries are either overfished or afflicted by declining stocks. The Nature Conservancy recognizes that fisheries and food security are among the most important conservation issues of the 21st century. Local communities, governments, and fishing companies throughout the Asia Pacific region recognize the growing crisis and are taking action to address it.

To take the pressure off declining coastal fisheries in the Pacific, TNC has been working on small-scale community based aquaculture development in Palau.

Palauans depend on fish to eat and to sell to make a living. Recent studies have shown that over 50 percent of the fish being caught by fishers have not had the chance to reproduce—not a sustainable trend. This is why TNC is focusing on aquaculture with the goal of improving food security and supporting local livelihoods while allowing reef fish populations to recover.

We need sustainable sources of fish for the future. If you agree, help us continue this valuable work.

A range of marine species are being explored, and we’ve already supported the construction of 16 giant clam farms. Giant clams are a valuable food source and can be sold into the lucrative aquarium trade.

In cooperation with partners, we’ve shown that fish farming is technologically and economically feasible in Palau for Palauans. Fishers are currently testing golden-lined spinefoot rabbitfish (Siganus lineatus) aquaculture farming, and we recently hosted a workshop to distribute rabbitfish fingerlings (baby fish) to farmers and supported the development of two rabbitfish aquaculture cages.

To expand on these successes, we have held several learning exchanges to help other communities, including Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, learn to develop their own aquaculture programs.

Read more about the potential for aquaculture.