NATION

Marine Research Centre At Makogai Planned

  A new world class marine research centre is expected to be built at Makogai Island in Lomaiviti. It will be a first in the South Pacific, says Permanent Secretary
02 Sep 2016 11:37
Marine Research Centre At Makogai Planned
The new Makogai Primary School which was opened on Makogai Island on Wednesday. Photo: FIlipe Naigulevu

 

A new world class marine research centre is expected to be built at Makogai Island in Lomaiviti.

It will be a first in the South Pacific, says Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests, Samuela Lagataki.

He was speaking at the opening of the newly-built Makogai Primary School on Wednesday.

Mr Lagataki said the centre would provide marine research on ecosystem and biodiversity assessment and aquaculture for training.

“The good thing about Makogai is the pristine environment and because the island is isolated and do not have villages around,” he said.

“Without research we can’t move forward.

“We have to find out how we can grow our fisheries resources and how we can manage it, because of the threat of overfishing and climate change.”

Mr Lagataki said the centre would immensely contribute to the management and sustainable utilisation of marine resources for national development and address the issues of food security.

He said plans were already in place with the Department of Heritage and Arts on the preservation and protection of the island’s history.

Makogai Island was well known for the old Colonial Leprosy Hospital which was situated on the island.

The hospital was closed in 1969 when the hospital was shifted over to Viti Levu.

The then Ministry of Primary Industries took over the administration on the island and ran a sheep breeding programme in 1970.

Nine years later, a marine search station was established in 1979, since then the island has been under the administration of the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests.

The Department of Fisheries and Forests had a centre and staff quarters based on the island which was damaged during Tropical Cyclone Winston.

Mr Lagataki said they had already allocated funds in their 2016/2017 Budget for the rebuilding of their centre and staff quarters in Makogai including the establishment of a world class research centre.

Edited by Maraia Vula

Feedback:  filipe.naigulevu@fijisun.com.fj

 

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