BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
THE Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has been handed over the responsibility to take ownership of the National Aquaculture Center facility at Aruligo in Northwest Guadalcanal on the 9th June 10, 2020.
This follows the handing over of the keys of the Fresh Water Hatchery Laboratory building A and B by the Contractor to the Ministry in a brief ceremony that was held at the site.
The Ceremony was witnessed by staff from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, representatives from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, Ministry of Infrastructure and Development, Guadalcanal Provincial Government and as well members of the surrounding communities.
Jointly Funded by New Zealand through the ‘Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries’ (MSSIF) Programme and the Solomon Islands Government, this is the first phase of the projects which includes a laboratory, office, covered an area of tanks in producing juvenile fish and a perimeter fence.
Speaking in the absence of the Permanent Secretary, Under Secretary Corporate Service of the Ministry of Fisheries Patterson Lusi acknowledged and thanked R & D Enterprise for completing the building as he assured the communities at Aruligo to look after the property with pride.
“Today, as we gather in this magnificent building and the first set of ponds that we have here, it demonstrates a true commitment that we all have in making sure that there is a national tilapia hatchery project to be built here.
“To the contractor, thank you very much for accomplishing this first phase of the project.
“I can assure you that by completing this building, you have already set a benchmark for your company and you are already on the radar of our donor partners.
“You display that you can deliver something like this in a given time, despite the situation that we are in,” Patterson Lusi said.
He continued: “on that note, it also wants to appeal to people around here to look after the property.
“Remember the maximum benefits of this project is will pour out to the communities in and around this area.
“The first species of Tilapia will be from here, the first training for farmers will also be done here so please look after our facility well,” he added.
In response, Ricky George, Managing Director of R & D Enterprise said though they had been through tough times and facing countless challenges in terms of materials and other resources, he is very proud of accomplishing the task within the given time frame.
“On behalf of the R & D enterprise, I want to convey my vote of thanks for your trust in us for taking up this task.
“Though we go through hard times and facing many challenges in terms of finance, materials, and other resources we respect, the Ministry for giving us this job, and for that sake, we continue to focus and work together until we finish this project.
“Today marks a chapter in the developments of fisheries and aquaculture in the Solomon Islands and I am confident that we can take up more tasks from the government in the future,” Ricky George said.
“The Fisheries Division and the Guadalcanal Provincial government are proud to be part of this development since the beginning of this establishment,” said Willie Kokopu, Senior Fisheries Officer Guadalcanal Province.
“Indeed, this development aligns with the Guadalcanal Fisheries division and the provincial government strategic action plan to develop inland aquaculture within the province,” said Willie Kokopu, Senior Fisheries Officer Guadalcanal Province.
Mr. Kokopu also reiterated that the surrounding communities take ownership of the project by looking after the facilities and not to disturb it.
It is expected that more locals will be employed when construction on Phase 2 begins.
Phase 2 of the project will include some large outdoor fish ponds and the water and power supplies for the facility, and it is expected to be completed in the later months.