Fish markets upgrade planned

National, Normal


PLANS are underway to upgrade the Kokopo and Rabaul fish markets into viable resource centres to assist small fishing operators to better sell their catch.
This has been taken on by the East New Britain provincial government and National Fisheries Authority (NFA).
The two markets are currently not in a good state.
The Rabaul market was left vacant when the district administration moved to its new headquarters at Kurakakaul.
The Kokopo facility is managed by the Kokopo district administration and is the link between NFA and the ENB provincial government.
Last week, NFA’s project management unit officers assessed the two facilities to plan a better way to benefit from them.
The Japanese government aid agency, JICA, has been tasked to improve and upgrade the fish market into a resource centre that could also provide training for fishing co-operative societies and small industry operators.
The Rabaul fish market is looking into the possibility of lease arrangement with industrial centres to provide services to fishing groups in the Rabaul area.
Deputy provincial administrator of policy planning and evaluation Bernard Lukara said fishing was a big potential among list of key priorities that were being supported in ENB.
He said the New Britain resources development fisheries project near Kabakaul, which is partly owned by the ENB provincial government, was an entity that could provide technical assistance.
The company could build rafter boats which were convenient for smaller fishing groups and less expensive to maintain and provide hands-on experience for fishermen.
Mr Lukara said marine resources were an important part of maritime communities and a potential income-earner so it was important to build on the two existing facilities to assist fishermen.