The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Departments of Fisheries, Industry and Cooperatives in 2017, is going to bear fruit with the opening of the Fish Market on July 29, which will coincide with the country’s 39th Independence Anniversary Celebrations on July 30.
The date of the opening was announced by the Director of Cooperatives, Ridley Joseph, during the celebrations of the Shepherds Mini Agriculture Show (SMAS) on Emae recently.
Tongoa and the Shepherds Group of Islands have some of the best fishermen in the country.
Meanwhile what has been happening in all Cooperative Fisherman’s Associations throughout the country is a preparation towards transporting ‘eskis’ of fresh fish for sale in the new Fish Market.
“The linkages for this has already been completed with assistance from a project by KFW – a German Funding Agency, with coolers and fishing gear with all fishing associations of cooperatives, which are already there to cater for fish caught to be transported to the Central Fish Market in Port Vila.
“As we speak the procedures are in place as to how the Fish Market will operate.
The Fisheries Department will be providing fish products for sale at the Fish Market, and a business plan will be formulated to operate the facility,” the Director said.
“The aim is to provide fresh fish at much lower costs to allow everyone to be able to buy fish, and for the facility to ensure a constant supply of fresh fish.”
The objective on the long run is for the facility to help to promote food security to make sure people eat fish for healthy living to avoid being affected by non-communicable diseases.
“More and more people are turning into vegetarians but fish is still on the menu,” he added.
His Department is working with Port Vila Municipality to guarantee the sole channel to fish accessibility through the Fish Market.
“We look forward to the opening and at this point in time, we wish to thank the Government through the three Departments and both the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Trade for spearheading this project and we look forward to its accomplishment,” he said.
On a side note, the Fish Market will also be a central place where the Sino-Van Fish Plant at Blacksands will use the facility for the sales of its products.
“I wish to thank the chiefs and their surrounding communities for hearing our call for respect as the wall that is currently being build round the premises is progressing well without any disturbance,” Mr Joseph said.
He appeals to the public to continue to show respect for the Fish Market and its premises saying it is built to benefit everybody including those who live in the surrounding communities as their young fishermen can also sell their catch in the facility.