Fisheries Observers in six weeks training

Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Observer training Programme has entered its sixth week with the observers moving into second part of their program.

The 35 observers were divided into two groups with one group doing sea time at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) and the other group undertaking the Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observer Syllabus Programme.

A statement from government said each group did five weeks of intensive training before going for the second part which will take another five weeks.

Deputy Director Offshore, Edward Honiwala who officially opened the second part of the programme said the observers will spend another five weeks before completing the programme.

Honiwala told the participants that Observer work is not easy highlighting some of the challenges they will face including long periods away from family, boredom, stress and sharing same cabins with males (for female observers).

“Your work is not easy as you will spend long periods away from your families, experience stress and for females sometimes you will share the same cabin with males so these are some of the challenges that you will face when you go out at sea,” he said.

The observer programme started in the early 80s with three observers and gradually increased over time to about 60 currently doing observation work under the ministry.

According to Honiwala, the number of observers would increase to about 90 when the current batch completed their programme.

He said with increasing number of boats doing fishing in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the demand for more observers also increases.

Currently, the MFMR has achieved its obligation recording 100 percent coverage on Purse Seiners and 5 percent minimum coverage on long line vessels.

Honiwala said the role of the observers is to collect biological data to help stock assessment of tuna fisheries and also to ensure fishing vessels comply with the fisheries laws of the country.