To achieve the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, The University of the South Pacific (USP) collaborated with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Fisheries Trainings Phase 1 and the Ministry of Fisheries (Fiji) under the Pacific Islands Capacity Enhancement for Achieving SDG14 Project earlier this month.
The project also intends to align its objectives to USP’s new Strategic Plan 2022-24. The United Nations SDG 14 that relates to Life below Water has immense significance to the Pacific region in that it strives to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.
Ministry of Fisheries Acting Director, Neomai Ravitu, acknowledged all the experts who have continued to mould, mentor and coach the Fisheries Officers in Fiji in enabling them to become effective fisheries managers, leaders and influential community members.
She stated the purpose of this training was to enhance and build the capacity, intellect, skills, and abilities of fisheries officers who played a significant role in the management of all fisheries resources.
SAGEONS Head of School, Professor Surendra Prasad was delighted with the collaboration and the contribution of the SAGEONS’ Discipline of Marine Studies (DMS) in this project and congratulated the DMS team on the progress so far. The project is coordinated by Dr Rajesh Prasad.
He stated that, “We are inextricably linked to the ocean in our Pacific region and have been since the inhabitation of these islands”.
“In a metaphorical sense, we live in the ocean, and the ocean lives in us. The ocean is our life force,” Professor Prasad added.
He stated the project was valuable as it aimed to involve ocean guardians, Fisheries Officers, and communities in taking appropriate actions to meet the SDG 14 targets.
“The scientific knowledge of our talented USP academics, as well as the financial and other support provided by JICA, would allow the project to achieve its goals,” he said.
He thanked JICA, the Japanese government, and the Japanese people for their continued friendship with USP and the Pacific people.
DMS Associate Professor, Dr Joeli Veitayaki, stated this was an excellent opportunity for USP and the Fisheries Officers to participate in the ‘capacity enhancement’.
“This training allows us to come up with solutions. We require such solutions in projects, which are intended to be directed interventions with a specific result,” he said.
Addressing the Fisheries Officers, he said, “You are the chosen ones who are assisting in finding solutions. Our Government is a member of a high-level panel on ocean economy sustainability. We are committed to insulating a sustainable ocean economy in the coming years.”
JICA Expert Advisor, Mr Minoru Tamura, emphasised that JICA provided technical and financial assistance to divisions.
He stated it was a fantastic course for future work of the Fisheries Officers. In total, approximately 130 participants would benefit from this course and the project.
Mr Tamura mentioned that participants who fulfilled the requirements of the course and project in different phases would receive a certificate upon completion.
The proposed training will be on different topics, determined by the Fisheries Ministry and the participants through earlier consultation and workshop. The Topics of the Phase 1 training are: Fisheries Resource Management and Conservation (1): Coastal Fisheries; Fisheries Resource Management and Conservation (2): Offshore Fisheries; Post-Harvest (1): Theoretical; Post-Harvest (2): Field Trip and Laboratory Work; Aquaculture (1) Mud Crab Aquaculture; and Aquaculture (2) Tilapia Hatchery Production.
The project will run until 2025 and will involve other Pacific Island countries in years 2024 and 2025.