Fishing workshop upskills in Mauke

Wednesday 4 November 2020 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Fishing workshop upskills in Mauke
Secretary of the Mauke Fishing Club, Matina Oti makes a fishing net. Photo: KURA HAPP. 20110302

A workshop organised by the Cook Islands Fishing Association and the Ministry of Marine Resources aims to upskill local fishermen in Mauke.

Forty-one keen fishermen including five women took part in a fishing workshop on the island of Mauke last week.

Mauke’s fisheries officer Tai George was happy to see the women participate in the course.

“It’s good more people are showing an interest; the mamas also learnt to repair and make fishing nets,” he said.

The Cook Islands Fishing Association in partnership with the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) conducted the workshop over three days.

Practical sessions included engine/outboard motor maintenance, trailer repairs, fishing techniques, rod and reel repairs, training people how to fix their reels and fish filleting.

In Atiu last month, there was a demand for courses on how to repair and make fishing nets, and use and maintain electric reels.

President of the association Don Beer said these extra two projects were added to the Mauke experience.

Nimble with their hands, the mamas got fully involved.

“They can competently repair and sew fishing nets now, you can send them the mesh, they can do it - a fantastic experience,” Beer said,

All the supplies, mesh, floats and weights were provided by the organisation.

“The mamas are good at sewing the nets, in three days they made make a 60 metre net,” he said.

There are good stocks of the fish paru marau in Mauke.

Paru marau (red snapper) fishing has become more popular, but because of the depth (250 to 300 metres) below, it is very hard going and tiring reeling in that length, said Beer.

There was a strong interest from people for electric reels that would make catching the paru marau fish a whole lot easier.

“It’s another avenue for them to supply the local market on Rarotonga,” Beer said.

Steve Happ demonstrated the set-up, use and maintenance of the electric reels.

A kids fishing competition was also held on Saturday with a sausage sizzle and prizes, that delighted the children.

Rarotonga fisherman Brendan Nicholas broke the island’s record for a dog toothed tuna with his 70kg catch that was sliced and barbequed for everyone.

The project was well supported by the community and the Mauke fishing club, Beer said.

Two Fishing Aggregate Devices (FADs) were also deployed on Saturday by MMR.

Senior fisheries officer Sonny Tatuava says, the FADs were to replace the previous ones at Taunganui (deep) and To Tu Tai (shallow).

The workshop was set up back in 2018.

“It was time to revisit and carry out the training; this is another avenue for the Ministry to emphasise and impart the skills and the knowledge to the people there. To enhance the traditional fishing knowledge and the new skills/ methods,” Tatuava said.