The National- Tuesday, January 25, 2011
FISHERIES Minister Ben Semri has acknowledged the commitment made by the Japanese Government to improve the fisheries sector in PNG.
Speaking at the opening of the new Wewak market and jetty projects in East Sepik last Thursday, Semri said fishery was a booming industry and was grateful that Japan had offered its assistance to build infrastructure to encourage more local participation.
He said the Japanese government through its Fisheries Grant Aid scheme had assisted the national government with K12.6 million to complete the Wewak projects and had also made similar commitments for the other 13 maritime provinces.
The second market and jetty project would begin in Madang this year with K22 million already made available by the Japanese government.
Semri said it was vital for other coastal provinces to receive new markets and to improve the industry.
He said in all these projects, the National Fisheries Authority would provide technical expertise and additional funding.
Semri said the projects would help local fishermen make money for themselves and also contribute to national growth.
He said the fisheries sector is also a major employer currently employing 26,000 workers but the number would increase to 133,000 if the government’s plan to build seven more fish canneries come to fruition.
Japanese Ambassador to PNG Hirohau Hashi Iwasaki congratulated the people of East Sepik at the opening where he said would meet the growing demand for fishermen and local vegetable farmers.
Contractor Associated Builders and Contractors was also commended for completing a modern facility.
The new market was named Laura Martin Market in remembrance of the late Laura Martin, an expatriate who fell in love with Wewak after arriving in 1949 and stayed on until her recent death.
Martin also served in the provincial assembly as deputy premier, president of the East Sepik Chamber of Commerce and was a strong NGO advocate.