Proposals sought for renovation of Fish Market at marketplace
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, in coordination with the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR), is providing funding to renovate the fish market at the Fagatogo Marketplace complex.
Currently, the DMWR is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the “renovation of the Fagatogo Fish Market” with a closing date set for 2 p.m. next Thursday, March 13, at which time all sealed bids will be publicly opened and read at the DMWR office in Fagatogo.
According to DMWR, “preference will be given to the extent feasible and practicable to those organizations, firms, and individuals who reside or do business primarily in the territory of American Samoa in accordance with the provisions of Public Law No 23-16”.
The Fagatogo Market complex, which includes a fish market, was opened in 2011.
The initial intention was for the fish market to be operated by a Fishermen’s Association or Cooperative, but this did not materialize. The design of the fish market includes open retail benches to display whole fish. However, the fish market lacks a drainage system, which is essential for hygienic conditions of the retail area.
Other necessary features, including an ice machine and chiller—which are necessary for everyday operation of the market — are lacking. “As a result, very few fishermen were selling fish at the fish market since it was opened,” said DMWR director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga.
To help improve the situation, the WPRFMC and DMWR are providing funding for the renovation of the fish market “to provide a better service and retail area for the public, in addition to supporting fisheries development for local fishermen,” said Matagi-Tofiga.
She explained that a design plan has been developed for renovations that include the removal of existing concrete fish benches to be replaced with a glass refrigerated fish display case; installment of a small ice machine, an office, store room and a working bench; installation of a drainage system; and modification of the existing walk-in freezer into a chiller and freezer components.
A pre-bid meeting was held on Thursday, February 27 where eleven (11) private companies expressed interest in carrying out the work.
Matagi-Tofiga noted, “It is expected that the renovation of the fish market will take about four months.”
Once opened, Samoa News understands roadside sales of fish will be stopped, and the fish market pointed to as the way to sell one’s fish. However, whether or not it will be open to sell local catches only, not imported ‘fresh’ fish, is not known.
The project is being spearheaded by Council representative Ueta Faasili and officials from the DMWR. More information can be obtained by contacting DMWR directly at 633-4456.