More fisheries groups to be registered

Fishermen like this one on Kia Island off Macuata have been urged to form associations. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

WITH a total of 40 fisheries association already established around the country, the Ministry of Fisheries is expecting to register more groups in the near future.

In an interview, the ministry’s fisheries officer Meli Raicebe said the concept of forming such associations was to ensure that the ministry could channel its initiatives and projects through the collective group.

Mr Raicebe said the formation of such associations was dependent on the geographical locations of their members and the fishing schemes that each of the association’s practised.

“With more association training targeted for the four divisions in the country, we expect the formation of more groups,” he said.

“It sets the platforms for the ministry to work closely with fishermen on programs that we need to develop together. “An example of this is the awareness programs we run regarding the sustainable management of our resources.

“Among other benefits, having associations will benefit fishermen because they become the ministry’s first point of contact.”

While touring the Northern Division last week, Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau told villagers in Yadua Island off the coast of Bua that having such associations would empower fishermen, giving them more bargaining powers.

Mr Koroilavesau said voicing concerns and issues in a group gave association members more power to even change government’s policies.

“This is why we are visiting fishing communities, encouraging them to set up associations because most importantly, they better our chances of partnerships,” he said.

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