Opinion

We Undertake These Projects To Create More Opportunities

This is the full text of the PM’s speech during the commissioning of the administration office of the Caboni Yaqara Multi-species Hatchery in Ra yesterday.   Bula vinaka and good
05 Feb 2016 10:09
We Undertake These Projects To Create More Opportunities
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

This is the full text of the PM’s speech during the commissioning of the administration office of the Caboni Yaqara Multi-species Hatchery in Ra yesterday.

 

Bula vinaka and good morning to you all.

It is a great pleasure to be here with you in Ra as part of my tour of the West and to officially open the new administration office for Fisheries Multi-Species Hatchery.

 

Rural projects create more

opportunities

I have been visiting villages in the West to see with my own eyes our projects to improve school, highways and other infrastructure.

We undertake all these projects with one goal in mind: to create more opportunities for all Fijians.

We create opportunities by clearing the obstacles from your path, by giving your children better schools, and by investing in economic activity.

I am committed to making sure that the resources of our growing economy are distributed fairly, so that all Fijians benefit.

Goodwill payment ceased

Ladies and gentlemen,

Fishing is not just an industry in Fiji, not just a way of providing food. Fishing is a part of our culture, a part of what makes us Fijian.

Recently, the Ministry of Forests and Fisheries did just that when  it ordered a halt to the practice of some owners of customary fishing rights demanding that commercial fishers pay “good-will fees” before they could acquire permits from the divisional commissioners. The ministry ended these payments in order to make sure that everyone is treated fairly—that fishermen and women, who are trying to make an honest living are not exploited. We will make further announcements of a new policy in this respect. The policy will ensure that the people with the iqoliqoli rights will get to share in the proceeds from the fishing licences. At the same time, we will develop an ordered and modern approach to issuing licences that protects our fish stocks to guarantee sustainability of the fishing industry.

 

New hatchery will provide income

generation

Ladies and gentlemen,

As we pursue our vision of a Fiji of equal opportunity, sometimes we develop projects that directly affect only one village, knowing that if we complete enough of those projects we will empower people across Fiji. But some projects bring tangible benefits to the entire country, as well as the local area, and this is one of them. This new Multi-species hatchery in Caboni will create jobs and generate economic growth throughout this entire region. And it has the potential to help us protect our environment, improve our food security, boost exports, and empower women and rural communities.

The Caboni Yaqara multi-species Hatchery will provide tilapia fry for fish farms and young prawn and fish species to reseed the overfished reefs. This means we can increase our food supply while sustaining the marine species we depend on. Our environment will benefit, our coastal fishing communities will benefit, and all the people of Fiji will benefit.

In addition, the Department of Fisheries has been working with the Department of Women to establish fishing projects or fish farms as a form of employment and source of income. In this way, government is empowering women, developing communities and injecting more vigor into the economy. It is also encouraging the production of fresh-water species that can relieve pressure on inshore fishing and improve nutrition in rural areas.

 

First step in aquaculture

development

Today we mark the first step in this project by opening the administration office. My Government has invested more than $1.6 million in this project because of its potential to improve food security, alleviate poverty and generate supplementary income for the people of Fiji.

This year my Government has granted another $700,000 for the construction of staff quarters, a three-phase power supply that will provide enough power to run the entire hatchery, and a new borehole to supply water.

Eventually—and soon—we will see a full hatchery, including knock-down tanks and raceways. Aquaculture can be a boon to Fiji’s future. We want to feed our people and conserve our marine biodiversity. And we also would like to export more. And, of course, we want to conserve the natural beauty of our country and the richness of our marine ecosystem.

The research, education and training conducted at this facility will help us do that. This will be our starting point for a world-class, sustainable aquaculture industry in Fiji.

 

New flag for the future

Ladies and gentlemen,

Fiji is not the same country we were at our independence, or even the same country we were ten years ago. We are making our own future. And that is why I am asking the people of Fiji to help us adopt a new flag.

I have served under our current flag with pride as a military officer and as your Prime Minister, and I love it. That flag has taken us from our colonial past to today. But I would like us to have a flag that takes us into the future—to where we are going rather than from where we have been. The new flag—always with our beloved Fiji blue—can stand for the kind of people we are, the kind of nation we aspire to be, and the kind of country we will leave to these children.

We have established a transparent process for choosing a new flag, and I ask you all to participate. We are accepting design submissions until February 29, and then we will select five designs to put before the people. There will be a national consultation during which time you will be able to tell us which design you like best.

I believe we will love whichever design we choose as much as we have grown to love our current flag—because it stands for Fiji. The new flag will tell the world that Fiji is a modern country, a leader in the Pacific, and a country on the move.

 

Aquaculture a wise investment

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe that we are wise to invest in aquaculture in the face of the tremendous pressure on our marine fish stocks caused by the increase in the world population. Our coastal ecosystem must be in balance if it is to be healthy, and that means we must help it. Aquaculture is one way to do that.

It now gives me a great pleasure to declare this new multi-species administration office open.

 

Thank you –  Vinaka vakalevu

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