DMWR hosts workshop for Manu’a fishermen
Director of the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga and some of her staff members traveled to Manu’a last week to conduct a Small Engine Repair Workshop for the fishermen there.
The same workshop was conducted for local fishermen a week earlier at the DMWR compound in Fagatogo.
The Manu’a workshop was carried out in Ta’u and fishermen from Ofu and Olosega were also present.
Instructor Iosua Lam Sam, a local mechanic, led the workshop that allowed the fishermen to experience hands-on training on a two-cycle engine.
“They will eventually move up to a four-cycle engine,” Matagi-Tofiga explained. During the course, fishermen gained knowledge about a variety of techniques that can be used to not only diagnose engine problems, but also to replace defective components as well as perform routine engine maintenance.
Matagi-Tofiga said they took into account the accessibility of engine parts to the fishing community in Manu’a and said for them, such a thing is hard; hence, the benefit of offering a class that can teach them how to repair and diagnose engine problems.
During the workshop, the DMWR Enforcement Division, headed by Officer Peter Eves, informed the fishermen about the need to have a float plan because “it saves lives”.
The fishermen were told that it is crucial to jot down when they set out to sea and when they are expected to return — “Who is on board? Where do you plan to fish?” These are some of the questions that need to be answered and recorded prior to sailing away from shore.
Officer Hanipale Hanipale also went over with participants a checklist of safety equipment that needs to be on board during fishing trips—equipment such as life jackets, flares, first aid kits, EPIRB, and a fire extinguisher.
As for subsidies, DMWR Education Coordinator Maria Vaofanua explained to the fishermen that some of the qualifications required include a valid registration for the boat, valid licenses for all fishermen, and an official record of the catch by DMWR for data purposes.
Before the workshop concluded, the DMWR director told the Manu’a fishermen that fishing is in the blood of all Samoans. “Samoans have and continue to survive utilizing the land and sea for their livelihood. Fish, seafood, taro and banana is the basic diet of most in Manu’a and this is very healthy,” she said.
Last month, similar 2-day workshops were held locally, thanks to funding from a subsidy approved by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga. Both workshops here and in Manu’a focused on engine repair which, according to Matagi-Tofiga, was one of the high priority items based on the results of a fishermen survey conducted by DMWR.
Matagi-Tofiga reminded the fishermen about the importance of being educated on how to repair engines, “especially when they are out fishing.”
“It could save your lives!” she emphasized.