The Operations and Development Division is responsible for management of the Department’s seagoing and related assets (vessels, slipway, mechanical workshop, ice machine) and for fisheries development activities intended to benefit the general population. In 2015, the Division will focus on the following activities:
· Efficient operation and maintenance of the Manaui and, when procured, the new NAPA2/ R2R vessel, to transport TFD and project staff and equipment to the outer islands as and when needed, and otherwise to charter the vessels and recoup some of their operational costs;
· Ongoing construction, deployment and maintenance of fish aggregation devices (FADs) around Funafuti and the outer islands;
· Training of local fishermen in new fishing techniques and technologies, especially those pertaining to FADs, and in small-boat safety;
· Support to the training of purse-screw at the TMTI, and ensuring subsequent employment opportunities for those trained;
· Assisting outer island communities and individuals to develop realistic fishery business plans tailored to their individual circumstances;
· Delivery of outer-island training workshops on canoe-building, fish processing and other activities envisaged under the NAPA2 project as means of enhancing food security in the face of climate change.
Over the medium-term, Tuvalu will also need to consider establishing a competent authority to ensure the hygiene of fishery product exports, in order to comply with the food safety requirements of importing market states. Although not critical at present, this will become a priority if Tuvalu is to successfully develop additional joint venture operations with fishing industry partners. At the present time the Operations & Development Division appears to be the most suitable home for such an authority.
Some of the Operations and Development Division’s activities will be ongoing or routine, including ice sales in Funafuti, FAD deployments, and maintenance of vessels and equipment. However a number of milestone tasks for 2015 are identified.
The work plan above relies heavily on the continued operation of the FV Manaui, which as noted previously has been experiencing increasing numbers of mechanical problems as it nears the end of its service life. The procurement of the NAPA2 vessel will improve the reliability of outer-island transportation available to the Department, but any delays in the procurement process may interfere with the Operation & Development Division’s work programme