Shortage of skilled fishing skippers a concern
January 22, 2021 5:40 am
Many fishing vessels are facing shortage of qualified and experienced engineers, captains, mates and crew.
General Manager for Solander Pacific, Radhika Kumar says, border closures amid COVID-19 has forced expatriates to return home, affecting operations.
Kumar believes once Fiji ratifies the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel personnel, things will become easier.
“And if Fiji is able to ratify that, we can start getting our people trained to work into fishing boats so they can the certificate so they can qualify to work on our fishing boats. It will still takes some time.”
Principal Lecturer at the Fiji Maritime Academy, Captain Tevita Robanakadavu says it is critical for all fishing skippers to go through proper training at the maritime institution.
“I believe there was no proper training done in the past for the current shipping skippers and also the fishermen who are now on board fishing vessels who are now on board fishing vessels.”
Kumar adds the shortage of skilled fishing skippers has affected the day to day operations of many fishing vessels.
“We are really struggling at present. Some of us don’t have any boats fishing out there while some have just got few vessels fishing.”
A new by-catch guideline was launched yesterday for both skippers and crew and vessel operators to further strengthen by-catch mitigation efforts within Fiji’s maritime offshore fisheries sector.