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Bougainville fisheries poised to grow

PAPUA NEW GUINEA - The local fisheries industry in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville will reach new heights when the two initiatives pending approval from the autonomous government are given the green light by the Kabui Government.

The division of fi­sheries in the autonomous region informed the National Provincial Fisheries conference in Lae last week that the Kabui government has yet to give its blessing to the setting up of a company formed by the fishermen and the facility for tuna long line fishing industry.

Provincial fisheries chief Jinro Boisen said the long line facility was a joint venture between the local fishermen and the New Zealand Hahlis group.

He added the company formed by the fishermen would be called the North Solomons Fishing company.

Mr Boisen told the delegates in Lae that this would enable local fishermen to catch tuna and sell them directly to the fishing company, which will provide the company an avenue to export its catches. He said that it would also create employment opportunities for the people in the province.

Mr Boisen said the North Bougainville Wo­men Fishing Project, started recently for the women to participate in the fishing industry, was expected to maximise output in the sector.

He said that the inland people were starting their inland farming by breeding carps and other inland fish products.

He said aquaculture activities had started in the mainland areas of Bougainville.

Prior to the Bougainville crisis, agriculture and fisheries sectors were neglected as the Panguna mine was the main source of revenue for the people in the province.

However, when the crisis emerged and the mine was closed, people turned to other ways of survival through agriculture and fishing activities. Mr Boisen said a small percentage of some households depended on betelnut selling, traditional basket sales and other informal sector activities, whilst most of the people concentrate on fishing and harvesting of marine resources to sustain their living.

He said Bougainville was comprised of many atolls and many people fish around the waters of Buka.

He said that few companies had the export licence to buy fish and export.

However, none of them have proper storage and processing facilities like ice plants as fish is a perishable commodity.

Mr Boisen said Bougainville had an abundance of marine resources including, tuna, beche-de-mer, reef fish, pelagic fishes, sharks and many more.

Ellen Hardy

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