From the Sea to the Market – How a Fisherman Earns his Living

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SINCE leaving formal employment in 2003, Michael Sanga, 46, from the atoll island of Liu Nasi, Lau in north Malaita, is now a regular face at Honiara’s fish market.

When he’s at the market, he stands behind his esky selling fish.

When he’s not, then he’s in the seas between Honiara and Gela, Central Province, catching fish.

That’s the life Sanga is now living.

“That’s how I earn money for my family,” Sanga told Environment Media Solomon Islands.

Although he’s from Malaita and married to a woman from Vella La Vella in Western Province, the couple lived on Gela in the Central Province, where they now called home.

Before that, he worked for Mobil Oil at their Noro office in Western Province where he met his wife.

After eight years with Mobil, Sanga decided to call it quits and become self-employed.

With eight children to feed, Sanga faced the challenge of meeting his family’s needs.

There’s no time to waste.

He quickly bought himself a Yamaha Outboard Motor engine from the savings he made during his employment and begun the life of a fisherman.

The outboard motor engine he currently uses – a 30-horse Suzuki – was his third.

“When I am not at the market, then I am at sea,” he said.

“Fishing is now my major source of income.”

From the ocean, he brings his catches straight to the market.

Sanga said he sells all kinds of fish.

He said when the weather is bad, he just had to go to the nearby reefs to dive and fill up his esky.

On his fishing days, he could venture out as far as in the Russells to the west and Malaita to the north, as well as at certain fishing grounds around Central and Guadalcanal.

He allocates two days – Tuesday and Friday – as his market days.

“On those two days, my wife has to accompany me to Honiara.

“While I sell our catches, my wife would sell other products such as shells, mangrove fruits and pudding.”

“A day’s earning at the market would be up to $2,600,” Sanga said.

At their Niu Mala village on Gela, the couple also operated a canteen.

Sanga said money earned from fishing and their canteen are used to meet his family’s needs.

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Lynda Wate
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