BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE
ACCORDING to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) recently launched Business Plan (2018-2023), offshore fisheries is one of the main revenue providers for the national government.
The ministry stated the sector which covers commercial tuna harvesting by domestic and foreign purse seine, long line, and pole and line vessels collects revenue through various licenses, permits and processing and observation fees.
Under this sub-sector of the fisheries sector, MFMR expressed that it also oversees the implementation of the PNA Vessel Day Scheme where the country sells fishing days to offshore fishing vessels.
MFMR added that this management tool provides an important revenue collection mechanism for the ministry.
Other sub-sectors under the fisheries sector are; coastal and inland fisheries, onshore tuna processing, aquaculture and recreational fishery.
Speaking of services provided by these sectors, coastal and inland fisheries provide a vital source of income, food security, employment and well-being for Solomon Islanders while in the onshore tuna processing sector, the country has one commercial onshore processing facility that adds value to offloaded tuna, generates increased return and jobs and stimulates spin off opportunities that benefit operators in related commercial sectors.
Meanwhile, in aquaculture, MFMR noted that seaweed is currently the main commercial aquaculture product the country exports.
In addition, this sector is said to be an alternative to wild stock harvesting of coastal fisheries and has been identified as a viable option for supply of animal source protein, food security and rural livelihoods.
Recreational fishery on the other hand is yet to fully emerge to a sector in the country as there is no revenue collected from it to date.
However, the ministry mentioned that it is an attraction for some tourists and have accommodated a number of important events in the sense of recreational and sport fishing such as the annual lagoon festival in Munda, Western Province.