THE Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) has commended two fisheries project planned for Rabaul, in East New Britain, saying they will have vast economic benefits.
Justin Ilakini, based with the FFA in Honiara, said that last week in Kokopo during a validation workshop for East New Britain fisheries five-year development plan 2015-21.
He said the Rabaul administration had conceptualised a project that was not a political project and was an economic project supported by leaders that development partners could support and a project that would touch people’s lives at the grass root level.
The Rabaul tuna terminal (cold storage) and regional fisheries service centre project are major projects under the development plan.
Work has started on the Kurakakaul fisheries development project.
Last week consulting firm Promak Consultants were at Kurakakaul, in Rabaul, to do data collection and specific technical investigations of land, topography and hydrographical surveys were being carried out.
“The economic significance of this project from FFA’s point of view is the transhipment that will take place,” Ilakini said.
He said according to 2010 data, the transhipment activities that took place saw 150,000 metric tonnes of fish transhipped annually and this was a significant amount of fish.
“Now you are planning for a tuna terminal and regional fisheries service centre and these are all captured in that economic rationale,” he said.
“It is your concept but we are just refining it and making it become a commercial project that will be driven by volume. The more volume you bring into Rabaul, the more business you will have.”
National Fisheries Authority adviser Bolton Towok said the project was very significant with regards to what was happening today in the development of the tuna industry.
Towok acknowledge FFA for coming on board with technical assistance and facilitate for investment opportunities to link the district with global tuna development.
Key stakeholders and development partners attended the workshop and contributed meaningfully including NFA, FFA, JICA, Marine Exporters, fish farmers, cooperative societies.