Fisheries and Trade officers gathered yesterday at noon to launch its first locally made fibreglass boat.
The program started with speeches from the Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Fisheries and Trade, Hon. Minute Taupo and Fisheries Advisor, Mike Batty. The program continued with a prayer to bless the boat by Rev. Honolulu and followed by the cutting of the ribbon by Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Fisheries and Trade, Hon. Minute Taupo and his spouse Mrs Taupo. The program ended with lunch provided.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Fisheries and Trade expressed in his speech how grateful he is for the hard work of fisheries staff in achieving the goal that has been witnessed today. He added, “I really want to thank fisheries staff; it has been witnessed that we not only talk the talk, but we walk the walk”.
This first fibreglass boat was built by a team led by i-Kiribati specialist Derin Pendle, and Tuvaluan boat builder, Iumea Numia. The building of fibreglass boats is funded by the New Zealand TFSP2 project.
The fibreglass boat length is 5.8 meters with a beam of 1.8 m. The design was based on one popular with local fishers and will cater to chasing tuna schools on rough seas. The first fibreglass boat took some time to complete, as it was first necessary to build the mould. The plan is now to build four more boats, which use the same mould and should go more quickly
Fisheries Advisor, Mike Batty stated, that the TFSP will continue to support the Fisheries Department in achieving the objectives of its Corporate Plan which came up with the idea to build fibreglass boats. He added, “This is a durable material and easily repaired, and most of the Pacific Islands use fibreglass for building fishing boats”.
The Fisheries Department, TFSP and FAO will continue to collaborate to complete the building of fibreglass boats and canoes. The FAO canoe project was part of the Country’s strategy to repair the destruction caused by TC Tino.