THE Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF) Programme, funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme, is assisting the Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources with the refurbishment of the Fisheries Centre in Lata, Temotu Province.
Work started in May and will take approximately five months to complete.
Originally built with Japanese donor funding back in the mid-1980s the centre has served the local fishing community well over the past 30 years.
The Lata centre remains in constant use to this day, with regular landings in excess of 1-2 tonnes per month.
It now needs some structural refurbishment and upgrading to ensure that it can continue to service the local fishing community for many more years to come.
Naomi Kyriacopoulos, New Zealand Aid Programme Development Counsellor, commented “the upgrade of the Lata Fisheries Centre forms a significant part of our support to Solomon Islands fisheries in 2015. We look forward to the successful conclusion of this important infrastructure upgrade.”
An assessment of the works required was undertaken by the Ministry of Infrastructure Development in mid-2014. Following a public tender launched in November 2014 the contract has recently been awarded to a locally owned construction company, FT Builders.
The total investment is approximately SBD$1.8 million.
Chris Ramofafia, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, said:
“We thank New Zealand for funding the upgrade of the Lata Fisheries Centre.
“New Zealand is a key donor to the Solomon Islands fisheries sector, with support and partnership extending back many years.”
It is anticipated that once the refurbishment of the centre has been completed it will provide a base for further support through the Provincial Government and MFMR to help improve the sustainable management of the marine resources of Temotu Province, including the Reef Islands.