The Ministry of Fisheries west based stations were given a timely boost for all their patrol and awareness activities when a 33 foot aluminum vessel powered by 500HP twin engines was commissioned this morning at the Lautoka Fisheries Wharf by the Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau.
Speaking to senior government officials that attend the commissioning, Koroilavesau said that the vessel would certainly boost and strengthen enforcement operations.
“The vessel named the “Dua lei Ranima” will service the Western region which has a total area of approximately 7,800 square kilometers. This include islands, island communities, and fishers that exist within the Nadroga, Navosa, Ba and Ra provinces.”
“These island communities include Vatulele, Malolo, Mamanuca, Yasawa, Yasawa I rara, and Malake in Ra. This signifies the vast area of operation in the Western Division and the amount of work that is required of us,”said Koroilavesau.
“This vast area mirrors the demand for marine resources which to some extent leads to increase in illegal and unregulated fishing practices. It is our hope that through the provision of this new vessel, we would cover areas that are of high risk and be visible out at sea to ensure that fishers comply with the current fishing regulations.”
The vessel would most certainly narrow the gap that exist in fisheries compliance and be able to create greater visibility so that fishermen abide by the rules and regulations in place when carrying out their fishing activities.
Koroilavesau also stressed that through collaboration with other government ministries, the vessel will also be used to carry out outreach programs and engage island communities as far as the Yasawa group of islands.
Koroilavesau also reminded officers that as public servants, serving the people of people of Fiji should be of pinnacle importance.
“This not only means that we will serve them from our desks or from the comfort of our offices, but we will reach out to them and visit them in the most isolated and remote areas,” he added.
The vessel cost government around $225,000 and was strictly built according to the Maritime and Safety Authority of Fiji regulations.