This annual conference provides the officers with opportunity to meet, discuss and review their activities implemented during the course of the year.
Speaking during the opening of the conference, Deputy Secretary Technical Ms Rosalie Masu, said this conference is one of the activities in the Provincial Fisheries Division’s Annual Operation Plan for 2020 and it is provides an opportunity to bring all Provincial Fisheries Officers to come together and discuss issues relevant to their operation in the provinces.
“It is an opportunity for different divisions within the Ministry to meet with our Provincial Officers to review and discuss activities that were implemented in the provinces,” she said.
New activities identified for the New Year is also discussed during the meeting.
The conference also looked at the Proposed Funding support under the MSSIF program to support the Provincial Fisheries Offices activities which was agreed on last year.
A Communique was developed and signed, to bind the MFMR, MSSIF and the Provincial Fisheries Offices commitment to provide support to each other and to deliver identified key fisheries development activities. This programme however, was deferred due to the impact and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 Pandemics this year. Ms Masu said MSSIF’s support programme will be implemented in 2021 when things improve.
“The COVID-19 Pandemics brings about a new experience and impacts to fisheries programs throughout the whole country. Although the threat might be considered heavy in Honiara with its immediate connection to other COVID-19 hard hit countries, its impact is also felt in the provinces,” she said.
MS Masu stressed that with the current trend and behaviour of COVID 19 Pandemics, it is anticipated it will possibly spill into the New Year and beyond.
Despite that projection, she said the Provincial government’s fisheries development in the Provinces is expected to be functional in 2021 to provide food security and livelihood support to rural communities who in turn will support provincial governments contribute towards the increase in the national Gross Domestic Products (GDP) especially now with the drop in other sectors such as tourism, Mining, logging, etc.
The Deputy Secretary Technical, Ms Masu acknowledges the New Zealand Government support through Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF) that will continue to support future activities amidst external threats and challenges influenced by the COVID-19 Pandemics.
It is hoped that with the different sessions organised for the Provincial Fisheries Officers, it will assist them to see what areas they would like to prioritise to implement in 2021. The sessions will end this Friday.