BY JOY OFASIA
LOCAL fish vendors have raised their concerns demanding Honiara City Council (HCC) to provide a solution to the existing fish market site at the Honiara Central Market.
Woman fish vendor, Mary Nanga argued that it has been an unresolved problem and it has fallen upon deaf ears over the years.
“It would be in our best interests if the HCC would provide funds to construct proper permanent concrete slab tables and roofing to house fish vendors providing business at the Central Market.
“We demand better roofing instead of using umbrellas as we sit all day selling our fishes; our demands or complaints are very simple and the Council should listen and take action to our unresolved needs.
“Every year, the market fees [we] continue to rise and this year (2020), the fee has gone up from $40 to $60,” Nanga further added.
Over the past decades, the majority of women fish vendors are forced to pay hefty market fees and operate their business in an open environment since there are no proper tables or roofing to shelter or accommodate their business and marketing needs at the Honiara Central Market.
Fish vendor, Jacqueline Mae explained that for ordeal faced by fish vendors are quite challenging and expensive.
“It is required for fish vendors to pay the following hefty market fees: freighting fees, toilet fees and Esky fees (Large coolers) – the Eskies are used by vendors as tables to display and sell their fishes,” she said.
Jacqueline described the Central Market as an additional home.
“This is like our second home and the only place for us (women fish vendor); this is where we sit every day to generate our daily income for the survival of our respective families,” she said.
No Water to Wash Fishes
For that matter, every fish market needs abundant water supply. But the condition of the Honiara Central Market is terrible.
Jacqueline also highlighted that there should be accessible water taps at the fish market site, especially to allow vendors to wash their fishes or to either wash hands or drink.
“We normally received sensitive questions from customers as to where we (fish vendors) wash our fishes and when we replied that we washed our fishes with the water from the sea, they walk away,” Jacqueline said.
She added that this was such a big challenge to answer people when they ask this simple question.
“There should be water taps for us to wash our fishes with fresh and safe water instead of using the seawater which is contaminated with human septic wastes from the Honiara City main sewerage line outlet,” she explained.
The fish market and the surrounding seafront are full of waste matter and hence the stink is unbearable. The fish vendors throw fish waste into the sea. Whenever strong wind blows, the waste gets dispersed here and there. Therefore the market, in addition to inadequate water supply, also needs a waste disposal unit.
For that matter, the fish market needs abundant water supply. But the condition of this market here needs urgent improvement. The situation is quite bad that Honiara residents (consumers) are quite sceptical before buying fish at the Central Market.