HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

MMR Small grant fund
Off the back of the Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) issuing of fishing licenses the marine reserve has received a POBOC fund of $200,000 from the Ministry of Finance and of that will be allocating one fifth towards the small grant funding for local fishers throughout the Cook Islands.
With dividends already placed on the POBOC fund the majority of the share will be allocated to the Cook Islands Fishing Association which will receive $80,000 for distribution to clubs throughout the country averaging a total of $5,000 per club, with a further $20,000 for administrative costs. MMR have also portioned $60,000 of that fund toward ministry developed fishery projects, leaving $40,000 for the small grant initiative to help mature local ‘grass roots’ fishermen.
Aimed at local fisherman, fishing businesses and processers, applicants can apply to MMR for a maximum of $4,000 in funding. Advising on the application process MMR’s Kelvin Passfield told the Herald there are certain specifications to be met. Grants have to be met with co-financing of at least 50% and applicants requiring more than $1,000 must provide 3 quotes for the required materials and or equipment, while applicants seeking over $2,000 will also need to supplement quotes with a business plan.
While the majority of last year’s applicants were from Rarotonga with only two from Aitutaki, MMR says that competition will be tight this year and welcomes more applicants from across the Pa Enua. “Certainly be a lot of interest in terms of the funding, and people in the Northern Cooks are looking to diversify their income, moving out of pearls and finding more money and revenue out of fishing,” Cook Islands Fishing Association President Don Beer told the Herald.
One such recipient of the MMR’s small grant fund includes Nga Katuke who successfully restored an old boat gifted to him from relatives on a tight budget of $1,000 for paint, fiberglass and glue to return the boat to sea worthy standards. “This is an example of the allocation of MMR’s funding headed toward our grass roots local fishers,” says President Beer, “Cook Islanders that are out there that want to start or the ones that are there but lack the finances to purchase the necessary safety gear and or equipment. CIFA is very much involved in advocating safety to our members.” -Maria Tanner

Herald Issue 608 21 March
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- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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