The Fisheries office on Kiritmati Island was first opened in the late 1970’s where it first operated at Banana village during the days when coming to this remote island was more often by chartered aeroplanes than ships. It then moved to Ronton Village in order to be near to Ronton port in the early 1990’s when the shipping means of transport was now more than often regular. The current location the new office building had just been recently opened in April 2105 by the Minister for Line and Phoenix Islands Development after been in office at the old British army storage warehouse for more than 20 years which is just next to it. The office is currently manned by a senior fisheries officer, a fisheries assistant, a fisheries technician, 3 handymen, an account officer, a security guard and a cleaner.
The major Objectives of the Sub-Division are to:
Division’s work focus:
The Fisheries in Kiritimati focuses on developing projects and engaging in activities that promote sustainable use of our marine resources and at the same time offers opportunities for economic developments. This includes the exporting of marine pet-fishes and other marine resources at a sustainable rate. Issuing out of bonefish permits and personal consignment excess charges on specifically identified marine species.
New Focus (for the next four years):
The Fisheries Kiritimati new focuses for the next four years may look at making Ronton port as a central-hub for the tuna long-long fishing vessels which usually do a lot of fishing in the Line Islands EEZ. These vessels could land their catches and then semi-processed for exporting. In doing this it will also develop the fisheries milkfish ponds to supply small size milkfish for use as long-line bait. Other fisheries related industries like the aquarium fish trade will also be benefited by this as when there are more flights coming in for exporting of the finish product, they could also be included in allowing them space to send live their petfish and pay the airfreight costs. The current problem now faced by petfish exporters is the limit export space on FijiAirways.
As with the pleasure fishing, research conducted to find the number of fly fishers to arrive weekly that will prevent adverse effects on the industry and also to look at possibilities of setting up Blue Ocean pleasure fishing as an alternative on Kiritmati as good timing with the increase in tuna transhipping activities at Ronton port.
FAO Technical Consultant recommendations;
The seaweed farming on Kiritmati and Tabuaeran need to focus more on creating markets and marketing of the dried seaweed since shipping to these parts are not regular. Training local farmers on how to establish cottage industries from seaweed products that could be consumed locally or exported if quality control measures are met would be able to lessen the problem of marketing already stalled large quantities of seaweed. Eventually it will also assist in producing higher quality dried seaweed