The meeting was conducted by the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) consultation team along with Jo Akroyd representing the ACP II Fish Project.
Mangaia MP Tetangi Matapo, the mayor, island secretary, Mangaia Fishing Association and the general public were overwhelmed with the information they received and they contributed greatly to the meeting.
The focus was on sea cucumbers, trochus and coastal management and policies.
Some of the suggestions that were made towards opportunities for development in Mangaia included frozen fish boxed and ready for export, vacuum packed fish, tourism (game charter fishing), whale watching and of course rori (sea cucumber) fishery for export.
Akroyd commented that “the people appreciated the fact that their input was requested, they felt that they needed to be part of the management plan so they could manage their fisheries better, which they felt was under-developed.”
MMR pearl division director Dorothy Solomona and Akroyd educated a Mangaia College class at the Mangaia fishing club on fisheries management and also the career opportunities that are available with the ministry.
The community also requested for MMR to assist with sourcing cheaper and better fishing gear for the fishers in Mangaia and also that more training and awareness should be done to assist them.
The consultation team now heads for Aitutaki for their meeting with the community next Monday.