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Communities living along the coastline in the Sepik Region were supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), EU-funded STREIT PNG Programme with dinghies and fishing gears.

Total of eight 23 FT craft boats with 40 HP outboard motor engines, and fishing and safety gears were recently handed over to coastal and island fishing groups in Vanimo-Green and Aitape-Lumi districts of West Sepik Province. The recipient groups were selected based on the criteria agreed upon between the Provincial Fisheries and Marine Resources Office and the EU-STREIT PNG programme.

The new equipment will help to improve the communities livelihood and well-being, which mainly depend on coastal fishing.

“For the coastal and island people of the Sepik Region, engine-mounted craft boats are essential assets as a means of transportation and also for ferrying of processed fish to the town markets and customers,” explained the FAO Fisheries Officer, Mohammed Zakir.

“The Programme is committed to facilitating the access of fishing communities to markets and assisting them in improving existing transport safety and equipment. This intervention will help to sustainably increase the catch and profitability of fish business while also contributing significantly to food security and nutrition at the household level,” Zakir said.

Among the beneficiaries who received an engine-mounted craft boat was Angela Passingan, the Chairlady of BAMA Women’s Group of Ulau Village.

“Through the European Union STREIT PNG Programme, we are able to get this support. The purpose of this boat is to assist our people, especially the mothers, children and youth in the village, with the supply of protein, fish, and also to provide job opportunities in fish capturing and selling for youths who completed Grades 8, 10 and 12 and are doing nothing in the village,” Passingan said.

The acting District Administrator for Aitape, Job Tomur, acknowledged the EU-funded project to support the local people.

“I like to take this time to thank the European Union through the STREIT PNG Programme. Through them, these groups received this support. We must use these boats to catch more fish, transport to market and sell to make more money because there is money in fish that can contribute to grow our economy here,” Tomur said.

Before handing over the equipment, FAO coordinated a capacity development training for skippers and crews of fisher groups on ‘basic operations of 2-stroke engines’ so that they can confidently conduct basic troubleshooting and regular service and maintenance for their engines to be sustained in the long run. The upskill training also covered health and safety operations.

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