The Department of Fisheries (DOF) has revealed Vanuatu is expected to see some return from its tuna by the end of 2019. DOF Director William Naviti made the revelation whilst responding to queries about the future of the Fish Processing Plant at Blacksands area on Efate.The plant is a government joint venture with the CNFC Company. Since the establishment of the plant, it has yet to operate to its full capacity.According to the DOF, the plant will process tuna caught in Vanuatu waters, processed and packaged then sold to overseas market.In response to references of “the White Elephant”, Director Naviti confirmed that the Board of Sino-Van Fisheries Limited will be meeting mid-March to consider tenders for the contracts of the construction of pontoons at Paray Bay as well as the renovations to the fish processing plant and the construction of warehouses at Marobe, paving way for fishing vessels to offload tuna caught in Vanuatu waters by October.“It is time we make significant change to ensure the fish processing plant serves its purpose to enhance socio-economic benefits to Vanuatu,” says Naviti.Vanuatu currently makes returns from fees paid by foreign fishing vessels, however it cannot continue depend on license fees alone because continual increases may be detrimental to Vanuatu as foreign fishing vessels opt to fishing neighboring waters where fees charged are lower and fishing conditions are more favorable.“Our way of improving and maximizing benefits from the tuna fishery is getting the onshore processing facility ready to function, then activating the policy of fish onshore processing which will see the discontinuation of foreign fishing licensing to locally-based foreign fishing licensing (lower license fees) with the requirement to land more than 5,000 metric tonnes of tuna and tuna-like species in Vanuatu, and charging a 5% export levy on all fish exports form Vanuatu,” Director Naviti explained. “If everything goes according to plan, we intend to commence the implementation of this new policy as of 1st January 2020.”

Source: Dailypost

The Vanuatu Fisheries Department (VFD) proudly hosted the FishSMARD community-of-practice for a three-day workshop from 15th to the 17th of May 2019, as part of the department’s Australian Aid funded Pathways project on community based fisheries management.The acronym FishSMARD stands for Sustainable Management Approaches and Research Development for Fish and binds together a network of fisheries practitioners in the Pacific who are working to improve community-based fisheries management. It is an initiative to improve peer-to-peer dialogue, learning exchange and skills development. What sets FishSMARD apart from other such groups is that it is “by and for professional peers in the Pacific”. The meeting was a first of its kind, and saw fisheries officers from Kiribati and Solomon Islands engage with VFD staff. It moreover provided opportunity for broader fisheries department staff to not only learn from other countries, but also input into dialogues about how best to implement coastal fisheries management in their province or area. As VFD’s Director, Mr. William Naviti, emphasised during his opening remarks, such dialogue between country teams in the region will stand to significantly improve our Pacific skills-base, and strengthen community-based fisheries management practice in the region to provide direct benefits to coastal communities. The workshop started with the country teams sharing lessons and successes from the field, and collectively discussing ways to address challenges. Subsequent sessions provided targeted training by experts, to develop skills in areas that participants identified as necessary for them to improve implementation work. On the last day of the workshop, the participants visited Takara community in North Efate, to see firsthand the emergence of community-based fisheries management. The participants observed how the Takara community has, since 2005, been using combined traditional- and fisheries management knowledge to monitor resource stocks and derive benefits from them through good management (e.g. collective income supported construction of their Nakamal in 2015 and their church house in 2019). The workshop ended with a visit to Wan Smolbag, for an interactive viewing of “Twist mo Spin”; a new community-play developed under a partnership between VFD-Pathways and Wan Smolbag. The play promotes community-based fisheries management by acknowledging the need to address social issues within the communities that are driving pressure on coastal resources. Following the play, participants discussed with the cast the power of theatre in transferring important messages to rural audiences. The three-day meeting has sown the seed from which the FishSMARD network can grow. With talks of the next meeting to be hosted in the Solomon Islands in 2020, prospects of such growth look very promising.

Source: Daily Post

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