Japan’s GGP Grant to Bureau of Marine Resources and Handover Ceremony for Fishing Boats and Gear provided by Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation of Japan


Japan hands over a 5-ton-pole and line vessel to Bureau of Fishery


On 19 April 2022, the handover ceremony of “The Project for the Procurement of a Fishing Vessel” by Japan’s Grassroots Grant Project (GGP) was held in Malakal, Koror. President Surangel S. Whipps Jr., Ambassador KARASAWA Akira, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment Steven Victor, President of Belau Offshore Fishers Incorporated (BOFI) Okada Techitong and many guests attended the ceremony.
The main objective of this grant project is to provide a 5-ton pole-and-line vessel to Bureau of Fisheries of the Government of Palau. The vessel will be used by BOFI members to increase the catch of pelagic fish for domestic consumption in a sustainable manner, enhance the livelihood of fishermen and strengthen Palau’s blue economy.
The project is exceptional in three aspects. First, the total amount of the project, 769,118 USD, is the biggest GGP ever in Palau. Second, the vessel procured in this project is the first pole-and-line vessel for the use of the Palauan fishery cooperative. Third, this project has involved various organizations to provide technical support from Japan, including fishermen of Okinawa. Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Foundation of Japan provided fishing gear including a bait catcher and will invite the cooperative members to Okinawa this summer for them to learn the pole-and-line technique. JICA will also dispatch experts to improve cold chain and value chain of fish caught by this pole-and-line vessel in their blue economy technical cooperation project.
The handover ceremony was held just days after the successful Our Ocean Conference 2022 held on 13-14 April. Advancing sustainable use of marine resources is one of the six areas of action of the conference and many organizations including the Government of Japan announced over 400 commitments. The ceremony became a timely opportunity for Japan to make its commitments to Palau tangible.
In the ceremony, President Whipps stated, “We look forward to tairyo (large catch of fish), to diversify the economy and food security. This is an important step for Palau’s achievement. We would like to demonstrate and continue our close partnership and cooperation with Japan to make our Blue Prosperity Plan come reality in three years.” Ambassador Karasawa stated, “I hope this vessel will be operated and maintained with care for a long time, and contribute to increasing a catch of tuna and skipjack and enhancing the livelihood of fishermen and Palau’s blue economy. Japan will continue its assistance for Palau to develop offshore fisheries based on our long-standing friendship.”   

Signing Ceremony of Japan’s Grassroots Grant for Procurement of a Fishing Vessel to Bureau of Marine Resources and Handover Ceremony for Fishing Boats and Gear provided by Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation of Japan


On March 2, 2021, a signing ceremony for “The Project for Procurement of a Fishing Vessel to Bureau of Marine Resources” under Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) took place at Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR), Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism in Malakal. A handover ceremony for fishing boats and gear procured by Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation of Japan was held together with the signing ceremony. Ambassador KARASAWA Akira from the Japan side and President Surangel S. Whipps Jr. from the Palau side attended the ceremony, witnessed by more than 20 guests including Senator Sengebau, representatives from Belau Offshore Fisheries Incorporated (BOFI) and Northern Reef Fisheries Cooperative (NRFC) attended the ceremony.
The environment surrounding the fisheries industry in Palau has been changing dramatically in recent years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, there is an urgent need to develop fishing industry, to ensure a stable supply of marine products to the domestic market, and to improve food security. The government of Palau has been working to develop pelagic fisheries through various measures, but due to a lack of funds, it has been unable to procure a fishing vessel and gear that are essential for development of pelagic fisheries. For this reason, Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism of Palau continuously requested the Embassy of Japan to provide support for the procurement of a fishing vessel and gear.
The Embassy of Japan in Palau has decided to provide a 5-ton-class (approximately 13-meter) pole-and-line fishing vessel and gear to Palau under Japan’s GGP program, which amounts to 84,602,980 yen (769,118 USD). The amount of the grant is the largest ever among 85 Grassroots Grant Projects Palau has received until now, and even the largest in the past five years in Pacific island countries. This project is expected to provide the fishing vessel and gear for BMR and BOFI. It will generate new catches of about 80 to 100 tons per year, mainly of skipjack and tuna, which will contribute to the promotion of sustainable pelagic fisheries in Palau. Moreover, it is expected to lead to the diversification of Palau's industries, the stable supply of marine products to the domestic market, and the improvement of food security. A new vessel will arrive in Palau by February 2022.
After the signing ceremony, a handover ceremony was held for a 28-feet fishing Yanmar boat, a 38-feet multi-purpose NECO Yamaha boat, three fishing gears with electric reels, and ten 200-litter cold storage boxes, all of which were provided by the support from Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation of Japan (OFCF) in close consultation with Bureau of Marine Resources. The 28-feet fishing boat, fishing gear with electric reels, and cold storage boxes will be leased to Northern Reef Fisheries Cooperative for use in fishing along the coasts of Ngarchelong and Kayangel states. The 38-feet multipurpose boat will be provided to Bureau of Marine Resources for various works including installment of fish aggregating devices (FADs). The total amount of this grant by OFCF is around 42 million yen (405,636 USD). At the handover ceremony, the participants watched a video message by Mr. TAKENAKA Yoshiharu, President of the OFCF.
President Whipps, who attended the ceremony, expressed his gratitude for Japan's support. President mentioned that this is a memorable day because they signed the largest-ever amount of GGP in Palau and received new two boats at the same time, adding his expectations for further technical assistances from Japan to utilize these boats.  Ambassador Karasawa stated that Palau’s firm intention to foster pelagic fishing realized these projects and conveyed his hope that Japan's support would help Palau to ensure a stable supply of domestic marine products, improve food security, and further strengthen the ties between Japan and Palau.