PRIME Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has assured the people of Rabi that their new ice plant will provide a range of support services to assist local fishermen maximise their income opportunities.
Speaking at the commissioning of the new Rabi Ice Plant last week, Commodore Bainimarama said the Fisheries Station had more than just an ice plant.
"I am pleased to note that there are several fisheries programs currently underway in this area, including pearl culture, seaweed farming and freshwater pond culture," he said.
"Of course, part of making our local fishermen better fishermen is making them responsible fishermen.
"One of our main concerns is the sustainability of our marine resources," he said.
Commodore Bainimarama said over exploitation, illegal fishing activities and destructive methods of fishing were causing some of the species to be over-fished.
He urged people to make conservation a top priority, not only for themselves but for future generations.
Commodore Bainimarama also lauded the efforts of the community and fisheries officials in manually digging the first of 10 fish ponds that would be stocked with juvenile Tilapia.
"Fish farming opens up some exciting opportunities for our rural communities.
"To start with, Tilapia farming will be done at the semi-commercial and subsistence level, in the future there is the potential to go commercial, given the right investment and this would provide our people with a fresh strand of income," he said.