Educational workshops for canoe fishermen being held in Niue

21 May 2018

Traditional canoe fishermen in Niue will be provided with tips and tools for survival at sea this month, through workshops delivered by New Zealands Pacific Maritime Safety Programme (PMSP).

The PMSP delivers maritime safety initiatives throughout the Pacific. The programme is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and delivered by Maritime NZ.

Pacific Maritime Safety Advisor David Billington said the workshops, which are being hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Niue, would arm the fishermen with enhanced knowledge as well as new safety equipment.

“We will be working alongside the Niuean officials to deliver safety messages and practical advice, such as how best to right your canoe when it tips over.

“We will also be providing safety equipment such as lifejackets and flares, with good information on how to use them and look after them.”

A small number of workshop attendees would be given personal locator beacons, as part of a trial in the use of these lifesaving devices in Niue.

The $367,000 search and rescue (SAR) vessel provided to Niue by the PMSP in October would be a key feature of the workshops.

“Niue’s SAR capacity has changed—and through these workshops we will be giving the fishermen a better understanding of how SAR works in Niue now,” said Mr Billington.

“We will promote the importance of carrying safety gear such as communication devices and lifejackets.

“With a response vessel like this located in Niue, any fishermen who get into trouble will now know that assistance is nearby—the key is ensuring they have the means of calling for help.”

Mr Billington said the aim of the PMSP public education programme in Niue was to encourage the development of a strong maritime safety culture on the island.

Niue has around 120 fishermen using traditional vaka canoes.

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