A Memorandum of Understanding was signed this morning by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation of Japan (OFCF) which will see the improvement of ice plant services in the rural and maritime areas in Fiji.

During the official signing ceremony, OFCF Resident Representative, Mr. Shimamoto Kunikazu said that OFCF is proud to continue its relations with the Ministry since it established its office in Fiji in 1990.

“Since then, we have been assisting the Fiji government through Technical Cooperation, promotion of exchange of visits of Senior Fishery personnel between Fiji and Japan as well as the secondment of fisheries experts to support the Ministry of Fisheries,” explained Mr. Shimamoto.

“This signing ensures that we start this new financial year with Phase 7 of our Fisheries Development Assistance for Pacific Islands Nations (FDAPIN).”

Mr. Shimamoto said that spare parts for the new ice-machines which was recently installed, including Nabouwalu, Rotuma, Gau, Cicia, Moala and Kubulau will be provided by the OFCF as well as working tools to boost the operation of the Lami Refrigeration workshop and a Hiab Truck to support the Technical Services delivery from the Lami Techincal Services Division.

In countersigning the MOU, Minister for Fisheries, Honourable Semi Koroilavesau said that the partnership between the two agencies has continued to grow over the years and he is grateful for all the assistance that has been rendered so far.“The Ministry sees this as an opportunity of further developing our fishers and local coastal communities, hence replicating the concept of “Taking the Market to the People” by establishing such facilities in Malaka (Vanuabalavu), Levuka (Ovalau) and Kavala (Kadavu),” said Mr. Koroilavesau.“Further to that, we are indeed more grateful to be the first recipient of the “Eco-Refrigerant project” another project initiated by OFCF in support of Pacific Island Countries development. The Ministry of Fisheries-Fiji welcomes the opportunity to phase out ice-making facilities which are still using HCFC-gases and ensure our compliance with the Montreal Protocol agreement.”He added that the two agencies will not only be partnering in developing our fisheries sector but at the same time ensuring the sustainability of our environment. The Ministry of Fisheries currently has 24 ice-plants around Fiji supporting fishermen with their subsistence and income-generating ventures.

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