MIDDLEMEN buying and selling fish in the province of Macuata may no longer be needed after chiefs stepped in to assist fishermen and resource owners through a joint venture with stakeholders.
Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere said the new venture known as Forward Loading would benefit fishermen who will be able to sell directly to companies involved in the joint venture.
"This deal will eliminate the need for middlemen as we will sell directly to our stakeholders (companies) from Viti Levu. This is one way our fishermen and resource owners will benefit by selling and getting the best price from the companies.
"It brings long-term benefits to us and this is the first time for chiefs to get involved in such dealings because we want resource owners and fishermen in our qoliqoli to fully benefit," Ratu Aisea said.
He added a meeting would take place tomorrow with senior government officials.
"We also have Tebara Meats interested in the venture and another company in Suva so they are helping develop Vanua Levu.
"Over the past years, the fishermen and resource owners have always sold their fish to middlemen and not fully benefited with the prices given. Now they will sell directly to companies and get the best price and we are grateful to the stakeholders," he said.