BY MAINE LIVETT
FREELANCER IN GIZO
MORE than 20 Fishermen and women Fish Vendors from Gizo Island and Rarumana in the Western Province, completed a two-day training on fish handling, at the Women Center in Gizo Town, Friday.
The Fisheries Training was held from Thursday 18th to Friday 19th of this month.
Provincial Fisheries Officer Chillion Panasasa said, the training was mainly on fisheries post-harvest, which means fishermen and fish vendors need to follow certain steps and guidelines when catching fish at sea and presenting fish at the market, in order to maintain quality fish for customers.
“We put more emphasis on fish handling, so the main purpose of the training is to raise the understanding of fishermen and fish vendors. They’re two different people altogether, fishermen go out to fish and vendors sell fish at the market, who also need to know how to handle fish.”
He said, fishermen and fish vendors in the province are not new to the importance of maintaining the quality of fish, but might not keep up due to not putting it into practice. So, for some of the participants, the training is an update for them to continue selling quality fish to clients.
He pointed out as very important, especially in fish markets the need to present quality fish to customers, as well as the proper way to store fish before displaying it at the market.
The training was the second one for this year, covering Rarumana, and Gizo Island, under Gizo Raru Association. The first training was conducted at seghe, marovo in August for fishermen and vendors around seghe and surrounding villages.
The training is funded by ‘Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF)’ under NZAID, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources provincial departments.
“We also look on gender, like before we only train the men, and we forgot women,” he said. women are also the key players, as we see most of those who are selling fish are women, men do fishing.” That is why we bring in women to also participate.” He added
He said, as a facilitator, he was very happy to see that participants responded to the invitation and show interest in the important training workshop.
Participants learned through slides presentation, video shows, and demonstrations on fish cutting, ice slurry, and chilling.
Panasasa said, from his observation, some complaints arise for the public, blaming fish quality at the market as a factor that caused children to become sick. so, the fisheries department develops programs to assist fishermen and fish vendors. However, he said funding for the programs is a challenge, as trainings should have happened four to five years back, but thanks to MSSF for approving a proposal that makes the training possible.
The Fisheries Officer said, so far only two areas covered this year, while more fishermen and Fish Vendors in other communities in the Western Province need to go through the same training.
Meanwhile, a participant, Pastors Juko Aminia from west Gizo said, “The training refreshes my idea, as a fisherman I sometimes forgot the importance of keeping the freshness of fish in esky when going out fishing”
it’s a challenge when the ice is finished, then we use only seawater, which causes fish to turn white and become spoiled. This training helps me a lot.
After this training, I will do my best to keep quality fish in my esky so that when I bring it over for sell customers will be interested in my product.” He said.
He said the new and best thing he learned at the training was the use of Ice slurry, as Ice slurry helps keep the freshness of fish during six or eight hours of fishing, before cutting and chilling to prepare for the market.