WHAT used to be a dream for more than five years is now a reality for members of the Cakaulevu Cooperative in Macuata.
With help from the Northern Development Program (NDP) and the Fiji Development Bank, the cooperative secured a loan of $6000 and a $10,000 grant to open a new fish shop in Labasa last week.
Cooperative treasurer Ilaisa Matakilagi said prior to this, they sold their catch individually to middlemen in town.
"It was really difficult to travel all the way from the village to sell our catch in town because of transport costs and the distance," Mr Matakilagi said.
"We had the resources, the machines and fishing gear but there was no fixed markets for our catch. So we decided to tap into available resources to assist us with the shop."
Mr Matakilagi said the prices of fish sold at the shop were reasonable and affordable.
NDP manager Waisele Tuidama said they decided to assist the fishermen with $10,000 so the industry was revitalised in the area.
"The cooperative is registered under the Wainikoro Fishing Cooperative, a secondary branch that embodies 10 small cooperatives that collapsed some years back," Mr Tuidama said.
"This is one of the cooperatives we have assisted in trying to revive the fishing community in northern part of Macuata. "
Department of Cooperative assistant manager Northern Ramesh Chand said the Cakaulevu Cooperative was a registered body that had diversified its fishing business.
FDB regional manager Surendra Prasad urged the members to operate their business mindfully with full and proper documentation.
He also advised them to make their loan payments on time.