Sixteen Pacific Islanders first to receive micro-qualifications in maintaining seafood safety and quality

Published Date: 04-Dec-2020

Nine women are amongst the first 16 Pacific Islanders to have a Micro-Qualification in Maintaining Seafood Safety and Quality through scholarships offered by the University of the South Pacific (USP) under the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme. The 16 awardees went through a two-week vigorous hands-on practical and theory assessment to equip them with necessary skills to improve seafood safety and quality from ‘hook to plate’, which ended today. The micro-qualification was timely, given that entire communities and families have become increasingly reliant on the ocean for sustenance and income in most parts of the Pacific, as the pervasive effects of the global pandemic, COVID-19, has seen major job losses. Benjamin Narayan, who was amongst laid off workers at the Air Terminal Services (ATS) in Nadi, Fiji turned to the sea to feed his family in Lautoka by selling seafood from his home from March this year. “This micro-qualification is very important for me as I travel to meet fisher folk to buy seafood. These learnings will help me to ensure maximum quality control is in place because as a seafood entrepreneur, I travel distances with the spoils of the sea. This training has given me an opportunity to provide the same guidance to my suppliers. My customers deserve seafood that is free from bacteria and chemicals,” he said.
Rakiraki fisherwoman and seafood entrepreneur, Kesaia Kaisuva, said as a single mum she ventured
into fishing, selling seafood both cooked and freshly harvested and the main challenge she had to
overcome was to retain freshness and shelf life.
“As Pacific Islanders know seafood either cooked or raw can perish. I have learnt so many new
tactics that I can use to ensure I never sell cooked seafood that is spoilt as freshness is essential to
customers buying seafood. I only sell seafood that is sustainably caught myself if I am buying from
fisherfolk I ensure the process used has not harmed our Pacific Ocean,” she said.
Director of the Catholic Women’s League (Teitoiningaina) for the Diocese of Tarawa and Nauru,
Ioanna Nabura, who has been stranded in Fiji due to border closures said with Kiribati relying on
marine resources for livelihoods and government revenue, the 33,000 women she works with play a
crucial role that needs to be recognised and at the same time the learnings provided to her is an
opportunity to ensure she passes on the knowledge and skills she has learnt.
The Deputy Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation for the Pacific, Dr. Erja Askola, while
congratulating the awardees said: ”The EU is proud to have helped the beneficiaries achieve these
essential skills, all the more so in the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU is a key
importer of fish and seafood from this region. This brings a particular interest in and responsibility
over sustainable management of marine resources and food safety for the benefit of artisans and
small entrepreneurs in coastal communities. The EU is happy to partner with Sweden, the USP and
other regional organisations to translate the “farm to fork” strategy of the European Green Deal into
“hook to plate” in the context of the blue Pacific.”
USP Associate Dean Planning and Quality, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment, Dr
Francis Mani, said at the core of this intervention was the thought of how to provide a hand up
approach to coastal communities through education and ensure that everyone has the right to
education, irrespective of gender, age or ethnicity but meeting the criteria set out to be eligible for
the scholarships.
“Also I am very proud and would like to congratulate the USP PEUMP Programme as despite all the
complex challenges we turned them into opportunities, and as we taught, we also learnt from each
other during the delivery of the historical micro qualifications that only Pacific Islanders hold,” he
Twelve of the awardees are also part of the 41 Pacific Islanders who are the first to have been
awarded the Micro-qualification in Establishing and Operating a Small Seafood Business certificate
through scholarships by the USP PEUMP Programme.
The USP is one of four key implementing partners of the overall PEUMP Programme, an initiative
funded by the European Union and the Government of Sweden. The USP, as an implementing
partner, focuses on building capacities for Pacific islanders through education, training, research and
development in fisheries and marine resources management.
The overall EUR 45 million Programme promotes sustainable management and sound ocean
governance for food security and economic growth, while addressing climate change resilience and
conservation of marine biodiversity. It follows a comprehensive approach, integrating issues related
to ocean fisheries, coastal fisheries, community development, marine conservation and capacity
building under one single regional action.

For more information:
Josephine Prasad, USP PEUMP Programme, Communications Specialist, +679 9922098,
Mohammed Nazeem KASIM, EU Press Officer, +679 3313-633,

About Us
The University of the South Pacific (USP) is the premier institution of higher learning for the Pacific, uniquely placed in a region of extraordinary physical, social and economic diversity to serve the region’s needs for high quality tertiary education, research and policy development. One of only two regional universities of its type in the world, USP has 12 member countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. USP is committed to achieving excellence and innovation for the sustainable development of Pacific Island Countries.

The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by Pacific countries. Among these are the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources; the threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters; the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training; and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and to promote greater recognition of gender issues to ensure inclusiveness and positive changes for Pacific island people. The five-year PEUMP programme is funded by the European Union (EUR 35 million) and the government of Sweden (EUR 10 million). It is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in close collaboration with Non-Government Organisations and the national authorities.

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