With 77% of New Irelanders living in the coastal zone, fishing provides an important livelihood for both feeding families and for making money. Yet what is the best way to catch, handle and preserve fish – and how can I make the most money from the fish I catch? And how can I catch fish without harming vulnerable coral reefs? To help answer these questions, the WCS Kavieng team, with the support of Roger Mark and Emmanuel Tamba from the New Ireland Provincial Fisheries Office, travelled to 11 communities in western New Ireland Province to conduct training workshops on pelagic (open water) fishing techniques and post-harvest fish handling and processing methods. This training occurred in late-May and early June, 2020.
Subsistence fishing villages hug the coast and adjacent islands of New Ireland Province, so this training was especially beneficial for local residents, who have relied on the sea for food, traditions and livelihoods for generations. However, recent population growth, better fishing methods, marine habitat destruction, and an increased demand for reef fish has led to local fish stock declines and damage to coral reefs, which the fish depend on. In order to help residents sustainably manage their seas, training workshops encouraged villagers to go fishing in the open sea, and to use fish aggregating devices (FADs), which can attract tunas, mackerels and other open water fish, and take fishing pressure off more vulnerable reef fish species.
The training program began with learning how to tie daisy-line knots for catching open water fish, and was then followed by a trip to the FAD to trial out the daisy lines, and to demonstrate the use of vertical longlines. The FAD trip was followed by a practical sessions on fish gilling, gutting, cleaning, salting and smoking.
The residents that took part in the workshops said they were very pleased with the training, and that they were looking forward to trying out the skills they had learned in their own villages.
The activity is funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade