Charles Koria is from Aruligo in North West Guadalcanal. He was just 17 years old when he decided he had enough of school, with little option, and with much reluctance, he decided to help his father breed tilapia.
Fish farming or pisciculture is not that common in the Solomon Islands. Raising tilapia commercially takes time, patience, and hard work.
The Saranga aquaculture tilapia farm is the only such farm in North West Guadalcanal, established few years ago it is now feeding communities nearby.
The farm currently holds close to 20,000 tilapia fish but has the potential to hold a lot more.
“I hated the job when I first started, I had to feed the fish three times a day. I also had to look after the cage, make sure there is no damage,” Charles said.
He says the fish are stocked in cages so that they do not escape. They are artificially fed and harvested when they reach desirable size.
“Now it is a hobby, I really enjoy waking up and working, I no longer feel I am missing out when I do not see my friends.”
Now 19, Charles says he plans to expand the tilapia farm further. He says he knows there are challenges, but he is now experienced enough to handle them.
“Last time during TC Harold we lost most of our fish stock, but that did not stop my willingness to work, we just kept going.”
He says the work is sometimes tough, but it is always satisfying watching the fish grow.
“The hatchery pool is always the most challenging, especially when selecting and transferring to the bigger pool,” Charles said, pointing out some of the bigger fish.
He says the fish farming keeps him busy, and he is not involved in most of the social activities in the community – “but that is ok, I do not feel like I miss out on anything.”
He says what they are doing is sustainable and encourages more people to do the same. He invites people to visit the farm and try some of the fresh tilapia fish at the farm.
The Saranga aquaculture tilapia farm is in Aruligo, North West Guadalcanal.