Local Vanuatu Boats May Be Pushed Out Of Wharf To Make Space For Fishing Plant

Large vessels need space to offload at Sino-Vanuatu joint venture

By Harrison Selmen and Royson Willie

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, August 12, 2016) – Local boats accessing the Fisheries Wharf at Nambatu Area in Port Vila will soon need to find a proper spot, but as to where they could use in the next coming days is still in doubt as the Fisheries Department is relocating to another area soon.

This is to make way for the new accommodation site of fishing boats that will be servicing the fishing plant near Blacksand area.

There are around seven small boats and five big boats currently using the Fisheries main wharf in Port Vila.

The Fisheries’ current location is ear-marked to be used as the offloading site for larger fishing vessels to supply the Sino-Vanuatu joint venture processing plant at Salili area, near Blacksand.

Director for Fisheries in Vanuatu, Kalo Pakoa, said: “All boats in our foreshore here will need to leave this place while the construction wharf can proceed for the new fisheries wharf. There is no option to find a space for our smaller boats because this is the only fisheries department property.”

He said for the last seven years the Vanuatu Government has been in search to find a proper spot to build the new Fisheries wharf to support the processing factory at Black Sands.

Forari on East Efate is in the Government’s proposals but the land disputes have forced the Government to turn down the option but to use the current Fisheries Department area.

“This is the only option that we have available that we can develop for the wharf.

“For the needs of our small boats we understand that we need to accommodate them but at the moment I have no option due to lack of space available.”

Some of the small Vanuatu-made fibreglass fishing boats used by ni-Vanuatu fishermen have raised concern about where they might berth in future as the current site at Nambatu where Fisheries Department is located is perfect for market access.

A small fishing boat can bring ashore at times between 20 to 60kg of deep sea fish a day.

They sell their catch of sometimes mainly poulet fish at prices ranging between 800 to 1000 vatu that are sold to both ni-Vanuatu consumers, hotels and restaurants.

They can make on average for each day’s catch around Vt15,000 or more from their sales that will go directly into the local economy.

The current berthing site that is proposed for the development of the new fisheries wharf is around 61 metres long.

According to Director Kalo the offloading by fishing vessels for the Sino Fishing plant will also include by-catch.

“The by-catch will not be huge but will include a significant quantity of by-catch.

Asked if the by-catch will not affect the competition between local fishermen and the larger vessels the director said: “We have a system in place to accommodate the influx of by-catch. We will build a new fish market that will accommodate any by-catch and the company will not be allowed to sell any by-catch locally. All production that arrive on land are products for export.”

He said all fish coming from the long liners are deep sea products that will exclude poulet fish, reef fish, “so the poulet and reef fish market will remain unaffected in terms of quality and taste for the different products”.

Mr. Pakoa said the fish factory will also buy products from local fishermen. He said this is another huge potential market for local fishermen.

Dismantling progress is currently going on at the Fisheries Department to relocate but the Director could not confirm yet an actual site for them. He said they are analyzing options to move to.

The current plan is to remove the hatchery building and storage house but to leave the offices to be used by the new project.

Meanwhile, with reports that the Fisheries department land had been sold to a company of Asian origin, the Minister of Land, Ralph Regenvanu, says no government land has been sold, particularly at Nambatu area.

“The location remains state land and will do in the future — no change or planned change in the ownership of the land,” Regenvanu told Daily Post.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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It's bether for our government to set aside our fishing poundrys. ..really have to

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