The support comes from the Pae Enua Tokerau Support Grant component of the funding provided through a payment on behalf of the Crown (POBOC).
An MMR media release said the grants were designed to provide small injections of funding assistance to a maximum of $10,000 for each of the five Pae Enua Tokerau.
“Each island of the Pae Enua Tokerau will be informed about the availability of the funds, and will need to provide proposals identifying their needs. These funds are managed by MMR and its northern group fisheries officers with the inclusion of some key community members as part of the vetting process and selection committee,” the release said.
Nassau Fishing club president, Felix Poila, requested grant funding for the completion of their existing fishing club facility on the island. Needs on Nassau include the provision of assorted finishing materials, a water tank and paint.
Pukapuka Fishing Association president James Auora submitted a proposal for funds to buy building materials to support a building structure big enough to accommodate the club’s ice machine as well as office space. Auora says they have secured an ice machine through the funding allocation with Cook Islands Fishing Association which is scheduled to arrive in Pukapuka in two weeks’ time.
A fisheries development levy, deducted from foreign fishing licence fees in the longline fishery, will help fund the scheme. The development facility includes $100,000 provided annually to the Cook Islands Fishing Association (CIFA) and its 17affiliated fishing clubs. In addition there are three other components: the MMR Annual Fisheries Small Grants Scheme of $100,000, Sea Safety Grants of $50,000 and for the first time since its inception in 2012, the Pae Enua Tokerau Support of $50,000 for 2015/2016.
MMR says the fisheries development facility began in 2012, and the Pae Enua Tokerau funding is a new component of this facility.
Poila says funding for the Nassau has boosted morale and confirms the commitment of MMR and CIFA to support the fishing club and the livelihoods of its fishermen .
“The grant has allowed the club to get materials that we would never be able to obtain due to money constraints, and it will help us set further goals and targets for the club.
Says Auora: “We are grateful for the assistance that has been made available for our fishing community. This is the type of support our community urgently needs since we have a small but very strong communal arrangement where any assistance is very much felt across all the families on the island.
“We are certainly looking forward to these grants being available for years to come and the association will continue to develop effective goals and strategies on their use.”
Rakahanga, Manihiki and Penrhyn have yet to confirm their proposals for the grant funding.
Meanwhile, the annual Fisheries Small Grants are still being assessed and final shortlisting will be made sometime this month, says MMR.
Director of Inshore Fisheries & Aquaculture, Kori Raumea, says 240 applications have been received, requesting funding of around $600,000.
“It’s been a challenging task in shortlisting favourable applications, however, I am confident that we are being guided by our policy document and criteria established are robust.
“We have people vetting the applications on each island before the final assessment of grants is provided by the committee consisting of members from CIFA, MMR and the Ministry of Finance.” - Release