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Rarotonga businessman to attend fisheries exchange programme

Thursday 13 October 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Business, National

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Rarotonga businessman to attend fisheries exchange programme
Fresh Fish Company’s Timothy Vaikai purchasing fish from fisherman Fred Thompson. 21040105

Timothy Vaikai from the Fresh Fish Company is going to the Mauritius Islands in Africa to learn how other fisheries do business.

The exchange programme is spearheaded by the Pacific Islands Forum to help build trade between Pacific Island nations and Mauritius.

The programme is focused on private sector representation from the fisheries industry in the region.

Vaikai said it would create an opportunity to talk with other Pacific fisheries businesses and help develop the industry.

“We’re looking forward to learning about how the other Pacific nations are faring and how they manage,” Vaikai said.

Vaikai said he wanted to see what practices could be implemented in the Cook Islands.

“We get to gather there and we get to bounce back ideas not just with delegates here in the Pacific but also with all the way across the world in Africa and see how they deal with their fisheries over there.

“I’m sure they’ve done a lot on their side of the world that we can learn from, so that’s what we look forward to finding out.”

Vaikai said there had been local challenges in the fisheries industry.

“There is no fish at the moment, of course we are getting catches here and there but in regards to the demand that the country needs to continually operate throughout the year we don’t have that here in our waters, we’re all seasonal.

“So the fish will really pick up from November to March but then it drops down, how can we overcome that? What are some things that we can do to mitigate that?

“This is why this conference is so timely because we can see how the other countries are doing, we could even start establishing trade with other Pacific nations.”

Vaikai said this could mean importing fish in the off season and exporting in our high season.

“It is normal that there is less fish but it’s not normal in that we should be seeing other species of fish coming which is not really happening.”

Vaikai is the only “small operator” part of this programme, the rest are large commercial operators.

“It’s a really good invite in that I’m not going to visit another replica of myself, we’re going to be bouncing of ideas from people of all backgrounds.”

Vaikai was selected by the Chamber of Commerce to represent Cook Islands in this programme. The conference starts on October 16 and will be held for 11 days.