Fish Farming Projects In RMI To Get Major U.S. Funding

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$2 million from U.S. climate change response fund promised

By Giff Johnson

MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Marianas Variety, Sept. 8, 2014) – Two marine fisheries projects in the Marshall Islands are set to receive major United States government funding to expand their operations as part of a recently launched U.S. climate change response fund.

A fish farming project that has already successfully exported small numbers of fish to Hawaii as part of a pilot project will be receiving $2 million from the Pacific American Climate Fund. The fish farming project was launched by the Rongelap Atoll Local Government two years ago through its business arm, Aquaculture Technologies of the Marshall Islands.

A fish farming project in the Marshall Islands is getting a big funding boost from a U.S. climate response fund. Technicians piece together large circular cages for growing fish in Majuro Atoll’s lagoon.

"This is a big day" to thank God and Team USAid, Rongelap Mayor James Matayoshi said Friday. The Marshall Islands will now see serious expansion of fish farming, he said, adding that there was good news to report from the fish farm’s hatchery on Majuro. There is "a huge success of the work in the hatchery," he said. "Eggs are developing and growing well. This is a historic moment for Marshall Islands."

A black lip pearl oyster farm on remote Namdrik Atoll has received preliminary support for a $150,000 grant from the U.S. climate fund.

The Namdrik community has been producing pearls on a small scale for many years as part of a broader sustainable development initiative that includes production of virgin coconut oil and other local business activities.

These grants were officially announced last week at the Small Island Developing States summit in Samoa. The Pacific American Climate Fund was established early this year with $25 million and with a mandate to fund private sector and non-government organization projects.

Namdrik Sen. Mattlan Zackhras said Friday there is additional follow up for this U.S. grant award to Namdrik. "The award is conditional on the second phase of the review process which is a pre-award survey and negotiations to finalized the budget which is expected to be completed by October," he said.

Marshall Islands Ambassador to Fiji Frederick Muller, who attended the SIDS summit in Apia, confirmed that U.S. officials said the grant for Rongelap is $2 million and for Namdrik, $150,000.

Ambassador Muller said others who received grants from the Pacific American Climate Fund included non-government organizations, private sector, and regional organizations, which included Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and the Federated States of Micronesia in addition to the two grants for local government aquaculture initiatives in the Marshall Islands.

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