THE opening of the Namarai ice plant yesterday has brought relief to hundreds of fishermen along the Nakorotubu, Ra and Tailevu North coast.
Namarai Village headman Sakiusa Yavala said over the years, fishermen in the area spent about $100 at a time getting ice either from Korovou, Tailevu, or Rakiraki, Ra.
"The opening of the ice plant has brought relief to fishermen in our village and also for the surrounding villages," Mr Yavala said.
"For many decades, we have been struggling with no hope of making it big in the fishing industry but with the opening of the new ice plant, surely many doors of opportunities will be opened for our people," he said.
"We are so thankful to the government for their assistance especially to Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama for approving the construction of the ice plant during his first visit to Namarai," he said.
Former Nakorotubu district representative Mosese Nasese said this issue was highlighted in many tikina and provincial meetings but no action was taken until the PM's first visit to the area.
"This is one of the developments that will greatly benefit the people of Nakorotubu and also the Tailevu North fishermen," Mr Nasese said.
"Fishermen are also encouraged to make use of this development as this is a good income generating source for them," he said.
Mr Nasese said the challenge was on the fishermen to fully utilise the facility.
"The government has done its part, the onus now is for the people of Nakorotubu to make use of this ice plant."
The ice plant, office and a staff quarters were officially opened by Youth Minister Commander Viliame Naupoto at Namarai yesterday.