A TRAINING aimed at strengthening the skills of rural fishermen and women in the rural communities of the country is currently making progress.
A statement from the Ministry of Fisheries said, the Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF) programme is being funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme and it is assisting the Solomon Islands Government through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources with the implementation of a series of rural fisheries training courses.
The next one is planned to take place between the 22nd March and 2nd April in Taro, Choiseul Province. The training will be delivered to around 25 fishery centre staff and rural fishers – both men and women on Taro Island plus other identified coastal communities in Choiseul.
Under the program the Ministry is providing training to enhance the ability of rural fishers to improve their fishing techniques and fish handling and help fishers to maintain important fishing equipment such as outboard motor engines.
“The training will improve knowledge in fisheries science and management to complement existing traditional knowledge and increase knowledge in good seamanship so that fishing as an activity can be enjoyable and safe.
“Fishing and the harvesting of marine resources is a skill requiring hands on experimentation and learning. This same approach is used by the Ministry to help train provincial centre staff and rural fishers (men and women) and a number of subjects have been identified to support the development needs of the provincial fish centre staff and rural fishers, including: fishing techniques; inshore FAD (Fish Aggregating Device) fishing; fish handling; fish preservation; outboard engine repair and maintenance; basic fisheries science and management; basic seamanship; safety at sea; and basic book keeping.”
Training courses have so far been delivered at five fishery centres nationwide over the past 18 months – Bahana on Isabel in June 2013; Lata, Temotu Province in September, 2013; Kirakira, Makira/Ulawa Province in August, 2014; Tulagi, Central Province in October 2014; and most recently in Auki, Malaita Province from 8th to 18th February.
So far a total of 113 fishers have been trained of whom close to 20% were fisherwomen. More courses are planned in the next four months in Marau, Gizo/Munda and Lavangu.
The Ministry said, feedback from the fishers trained so far indicate that some fish species are being harvested at a rate that is not sustainable. This causes fishers to spend more hours in the sea as well as to move further out into the sea to catch fish.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, in collaboration with development partners, is currently working towards development management strategies that will help ensure that under sized fish are not targeted and that spawning and aggregation sites of certain fish species are not disturbed during times of the year, thereby protecting the fish stocks for future generations.