THE "Blue Pacific" region is making waves through a global seafood competition which promotes sustainable development in the fisheries sector.
Three fisheries companies from Palau, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are finalists in the Fish 2.0 2017 competition for sustainable seafood businesses. They are among 37 finalists from an initial pool of 184 entrants.
Toata Molea of Didds Fishing Company Ltd (Solomon Islands) and James Sanderson of Indigo Seafood in Palau were still reeling from their finalist status when contacted this week. Both are now working hard with organisers to perfect the pitch they will put to potential investors during the final in November.
Toata Molea has ancestral wisdom of sea barrier reef systems and its inhabitants that cannot be taught. Before starting with DFC, he was undertaking doctoral (marine) studies in Australia but stopped when he ran out of funds.
"I still can't believe it," said Mr Molea, who comes from Makwanu, a community that builds and lives on artificial islands, in the northernmost part of the Solomon Islands.
"Our entire lives are on and around the sea. For crops and other similar needs, we would go to the coastline and use our catch in a barter system. To be a finalist is so very amazing and is something that was celebrated by the entire community - everyone is still celebrating."
Families in Makwanu use 15 boats, alternating weeks so everyone has the opportunity to earn some cash. DFC provides the boats, fuel and ice; a "carrier" boat travels between Honiara, the capital, and company base, and Malaita Province where the community is to drop off supplies and pick up the fresh fish for the local market and hotels.