Havini Vira

Havini Vira

Role: MPhil candidate

Field of Research: Aquaculture management, freshwater aquaculture

Contact details:

Email: havini.vira@gmail.com

Office: Room 601, D26 Building, UNSW, Kensington 2052


Havini is currently enrolled in the UNSW MPhil program with a research project focused on identifying gaps and suggesting interventions in Papua New Guinea’s rapidly growing aquaculture industry. He plans to conduct a SWOT analysis surveying farmers and other stakeholders.

Havini worked as a junior scientific officer with Eastern Highlands Provincial DPI and was responsible for establishing the first freshwater fish cage culture project in PNG with JICA counterpart funding. He tested different materials, species for culture, basic site selection and also conducted training for interested farmers. There are now three semi-commercial operators with many smaller holder farmers.

He moved onto working with Ok Tedi Mining Limited in 2004 after 6 years with DPI. Engaged as a fish biologist/aquaculturist working with mine affected communities along the Fly River. The focus was on investigating the use of native species and available resources to create alternate income earning opportunities as well as to support food security. Was involved at this stage, in an ACIAR project that used lessons learnt in Queensland to investigate the potential for aquaculture of similar species in the Fly River. Some achievements of work done in the Western Province included the cage culture of barramundi, the pond culture of redclaw crayfish (C. quadricarinatus), the use of Fly River herring (Nematolosa spp) as a protein source in fishmeal, and the expansion of fish farming in the higher altitude areas of Western Province where protein deficiency is prevalent.

In 2011, Havini joined the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) as manager of freshwater aquaculture. Other projects in PNG included an ACIAR project with UNSW to develop aquaculture production to improve livelihoods. Whilst working at NFA and travelling widely, Havini was able to appreciate similarities and differences in the developmental issues surrounding aquaculture development. There is much potential, however, the right guidelines, direction and stakeholder involvement needs to be established. The challenge also, is finding the right balance. There has been very little done in this key area, and its importance will become more evident as the industry grows.        

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