Acting Minister of Fisheries and Trade, Hon. Ampelosa Tehulu and the Minister of Transport, Energy and Tourism, Hon. Nielu Meisake officially marked the handing over of the Research Vessel (RV) Tala Moana to be managed by the Ministry of Transport, Energy and Tourism at10am today at the Fisheries Office at Teone.
The official turning over of the RV Tala Moana program started off with a blessing prayer from Reverend Alefaio Honolulu then followed with speeches from Hon. Nielu Meisake, the Director of Fisheries, Samasoni Finikaso, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Ministry of Transport, Energy and Tourism Mr Avafoa Irata and Acting CEO for the Ministry of Fisheries and Trade, Mr Falasese Tupau.
The program ended with the official signing of the handover note for the RV Tala Moana by both Ministers and refreshments afterwards.
The RV Tala Moana became the second vessel to managed by the Fisheries Department after its arrival within the country late in 2015. RV Tala Moana was a second-hand boat purchased under the NAPA 2 Project, intended to transport people and materials to the outer islands in line with the NAPA 2 priorities in the project document. These priorities included fishery resource assessment and management, disaster risk management and governance. The RV Tala Moana is a 32-meter steel vessel, was procured by UNDP using GEF funds allocated to Tuvalu to support the operations of NAPA 2 and Ridge-to-Reef (R2R) projects in which the Department is heavily involved.
The Tala Moana was managed successfully by the Fisheries Department for five years, with no recurrent budget provided by Government. Instead, the vessel covered operating costs by charging charter fees to projects and other Government departments. The vessel has made over a hundred trips to the outer islands, as well as undertaking Fisheries Patrols.
The Director of Fisheries, Mr Finikaso in his speech thanked the government of Tuvalu for their assistance and arrangement to transfer RV Tala Moana to the Marine Department. He also explained the history of RV Tala Moana since its purchase by the NAPA 2 project in late 2015.
“I would really like to extend my gratitude to the Ministry of Fisheries and Trade for agreeing with the idea to transfer RV Tala Moana to be managed by our Ministry. We’ll continue our utmost to upgrade our service with the long-term management of the RV Tala Moana”, Hon. Nielu Meisake said.
Starting from today the RV Tala Moana is now officially under the control and management of the Marine Department.