Ambassador of Japan, Toshihisa Takata, handed over the fishing vessel to the Pue Fishing Association on Wednesday afternoon in front of a gathering of distinguished guests and members of the Pukapuka Rarotonga community.
MC for the occasion, and secretary and chairman of the Pue Fishing Association, Kirianu Nio said it was an occasion to celebrate, following his efforts behind the scenes preparing lengthy grant submission paper work to the Japanese embassy in Wellington.
His hard work has paid off in the form of a total grant to the Pue Fishing Association from the Japanese government of $112,054.00. Included in the amount is fishing vessel and safety equipment totalling $69,384.35 and additional fishing equipment valued at $10,000. And there’s an $8,500 solar system for the clubhouse as well as a freezer, plus an ice machine, and a new water tank.
Ministry of Marine Resources secretary Ben Ponia thanked Takata for his generosity and estimated that the crew of the vessel would catch around 500kg of fish a month. And at $10 a kilo, equalling $5,000 a month, would land them around $60,000 per year in fish revenue. He said to Takata: “It was a very good return on investment.”
Takata said the boat and equipment’s ongoing due care and maintenance would create additional symbols of friendship and cooperation between Japan and the Cook Islands.
The project is aimed at sustainable fishing methods and developing the skills of young men and women fishers, by providing practical training and hands-on fishing experience at sea.
Takata later emphasised that the grant scheme for the Grassroots Human Security Project was set up to help local communities in critical areas such as primary education, income generation for small villages and for women, and alleviating water shortages.
This was the 14th Grass Roots Project in the Cook Islands since it was introduced to the Cook Islands in 2011.
Yesterday Ambassador Takata touched down in Aitutaki to hand over a further $157,181 worth of funding for the Aitutaki Community Tanks project to improve water storage there.
The project included the repair of 10 water tanks in six villages, and the construction of two new water buildings to replace those that were damaged by Cyclone Pat in 2010.