The public consultation held at the New Hope Church in Tutakimoa was also attended by fisheries officers from the outer islands as well as Rarotonga.
The consultation was held to get the views and perspective of the private sector and community on the development plan. The plan is expected to provide a roadmap of directions that can be taken to achieve real progress to sustainably develop the aquaculture sector in this country.
In his opening address on Tuesday, MMR’s director of inshore fisheries and aquaculture Koroa Raumea said with the expiration of the Cook Islands Aquaculture Development Plan 2012-2016, it was timely to review progress and refresh the vision for aquaculture in the Cook Islands.
“If necessary, we should re-orient our activities to take account of new developments, emerging trends and fresh challenges in aquaculture.
“The scope of the new plan may need to be broadened, to take account of any new issues not previously considered,” Raumea said.
“In particular it is necessary to consider impacts of climate change and the need for disaster resilience, in order to protect and maintain the roles that aquaculture can play in food security, diversification of livelihoods, and replenishment of fishery resources in the future.”
The purpose of the new Aquaculture Development Plan 2018-2022, he said would be to provide a consolidated vision for the aquaculture sector in Cook Islands managed by the MMR.
“This vision shall be consistent with other national policies and plans, and with the aspirations of relevant aquaculture stakeholders. The ADP 2018-2022 will clearly identify the objectives, priority issues and strategies for management and sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in Cook Islands by the various aquaculture sector stakeholders and the MMR.
“It will show how these relate to higher-level development objectives, such as those stated in the National Strategic Development Plan 2016-2021, the Marine Sector Policy 2018-2021 and the MMR Strategic Plan 2017-2021, and to subsidiary plans like the Manihiki Pearl Farming Management Plan 2016-2026 and the National Strategy on Aquatic Biosecurity for the Cook Islands.”
From the views and ideas collected at the consultation, MMR will now work on developing a draft plan for endorsement.