The of the national Aquaculture and Fisheries Facility at Aruligo, North West Guadalcanal is a step closer following the ground breaking ceremony at the site yesterday morning.
Officials from the Ministry of Fisheries, the New Zealand High Commission, Guadalcanal Province Premier, other invited guests and people from the surrounding communities witnessed the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Fisheries and Deputy Prime Minister Honorouble John Maneniaru, said the ground breaking ceremony will pave the way the for establishment of National Tilapia Facility at Aruligo.
“Today’s event, marks a very important milestone in the Chapter of Fisheries and Aquaculture development in the Country. The GIFT Tilapia have been identified by the Government as a priority commodity for development and establishment towards the improvement of the well-being of local Populations around the Country. This will support the livelihood, food security and economic access within our communities,” the Fisheries Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said.
He told those who gathered that it is the priority focus of the Government to re-develop the Aruligho (old ICLARM) to become Solomon Islands own National Aquaculture hub and research centre.
“Today’s Ceremony marks the beginning of construction of the first ever Tilapia Facility to be established in the country, a facility that will support the development of the Tilapia Industry in the Country,” he said.
The facility will be the Centre for breeding and supplies of fingerlings to the local farmers, maintaining broodstock quality, researches, and a training centre for the local communities, farmers, and scholars.
The Minister pointed out that the ceremony also marks the Government continued commitment and value with significance of the importance of this Project.
“Today, we are faced with numerous threats that posed over exploitation of our wild Fisheries. Aquaculture is recognized by the Government of its importance towards supplementing the shortfall anticipated in the wild fish supplies and demand in the future,” he said.
The Fisheries Minister also used the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the people and Government of New Zealand through the New Zealand High Commissioner (Solomon Islands) His Excellency Mr. Don Higgin for the generosity in core funding this project along with the Solomon Islands Government.
He also acknowledged other Government line ministries for their support to the project and urged them to continue to lend their hands through the implementation of this project.
The Fisheries Minister also thanked the Guadalcanal Provincial Government for guidance and advice provided throughout and the community chiefs, elders and communities of Konaroha, Sahalu Vatukulau, and Duidui & Horobau for understanding and importantly for realizing the importance of the project and for supporting its establishment which was witnessed in the ground breaking yesterday.
“I am fully convinced that the work we are laying today (yesterday) is the cornerstone of developing a new era of Aquaculture and Tilapia Industry in Solomon Islands to support our economic and social development, and securing the well-being of the Solomon Islands people towards the near future and together, we can jointly realize and share the benefits of this project and as well the next Generation to come ahead of us,” the Minister concluded.