Graduates of the Deck Hand Fishing program have a better understanding of issues such as mitigating the negative effects of fishing on the marine ecosystem.
This was the sentiment expressed by World Wide Fund for Nature – Pacific Conservation Director Francis Areki following the graduation of 23 students from the Fiji National University’s Maritime Academy.
According to Areki, the offshore fishing sector in Fiji is becoming more skilled in terms of having qualified deckhand crew who are aware of issues such as by-catch of protected species of sharks and turtles.
He adds that the Deck Hand Fishing program not only raises awareness of safety at sea but also includes a module in the curriculum devoted to catch mitigation, which is unique to Fiji.
According to Areki, “by-catch” refers to the unintentional capture of a fish or other marine species while fishing for a specific species.
Captain Rajitha Semage, FMA Chief Executive, stated that today’s graduates are prepared to join the workforce on Fiji’s fishing vessels.