Mar 20, 2019 Last Updated 10:43 AM, Mar 19, 2019

Scanning the story of a fish

Imagine typing a code from a can of tuna into your phone as you stand in a supermarket aisle to find out where the fish in the can was caught, and the name of the ship which landed it.

This is the vision of information technology professional Ken Katafono, who is breaking new grounds in the Pacific.

He has just launched TraSeable Solutions Pte Ltd, a fully home-grown tech start-up specialising in the provision of blockchain-based traceability solutions to the region’s fishing industry.

It’s a pioneering move, given that blockchain (or Distributed Ledger Technology as it is often referred to) is in its infancy in the region.

The company says the technology it provides will provide a degree of transparency for our region’s fishing industry that has never been seen before.

The Blockchain Supply Chain Traceability Project uses digital technology to strengthen the supply chain management of the fresh and frozen tuna sectors in the Western and Central Pacific regions.

It is a collaboration involving TraSeable, WWF through WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia and WWF-Fiji, global tech innovator ConsenSys, and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji ltd.

By using blockchain-based traceability solutions, a tuna product can be traced back to the original fish caught, as fishermen are required to register their catch on the blockchain through Radio Frequency Tagging (RFID) and scanning of fish. read more buy your personal copy at

Derailed by the huge devastation wrought by super-cyclone Winston in 2016. Fiji’s exclusive J. Hunter Pearls is back on the path of restoring what it lost and at the same time doubled up on its efforts in ocean conservation.

In addition to building back stronger by commissioning its new million dollar hatchery, J. Hunter Pearls through its principals Justin Hunter and wife Leanne have hit the road promoting their blue pledge concept.

“We lost 30km of long lines with some 120,000 young oysters, our showroom destroyed, jetty gone, and our hatchery completely destroyed. Loss of infrastructure, value of lost income puts at about F$6 million,” said Hunter. “This year and next will see us producing roughy just 1 / 5 of expected pearls.”

Instead of throwing in the towel, Hunter resolved in a meeting with his 51-member staff after Winton that they would rebuild and continue to grow the business located in the coastal town of Savusavu in northern Fiji.

“This is about resilience, about people about island communities that have a very few options for earning foreign exchange,” read more buy your personal copy at

Unconfirmed reports have emerged that the Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH) in Fiji is now fully owned by the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF).

The historic building, local landmark and well known icon of South Pacific tourism has been the subject of months of negotiation among its three shareholders – the FNPF (25%), Papua New Guinea’s National Superannuation Fund (NASFUND - 50%) and PNG-based property development firm Lamana Development (25%).

It is understood the PNG partners were divesting, barely 10 years after they bought into it and that FNPF was in talks with them for a total buyout.

Although no official word has been issued, sources close to the negotiations informed Islands Business that the deal had closed and that the PNG partners were treated to a farewell dinner. All three parties remained tightlipped on the development and questions sent to them remained unanswered.

NASFUND had bought into GPH in 2010 for a reported F$90 million (USD42.23m), which included 50 per cent of the businesses and refurbishing the building, which had remained derelict and empty ever since the Nauru Government, which had previously owned it via its Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust, bought it in 1988 but could not keep up with the deterioration until it had to close it in 1992.

The Fijian Government of 2000, under Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry expropriated the property just before the coup of that year.

The plan to restore the then derelict building was taken up by successive governments, which finally led to FNPF’s involvement in its ownership in 2005, when the property was bought by a joint venture between the now scrapped FNPF Investment Ltd (80%) and the now disbanded Fiji Investment Corporation Ltd (20%), a former government investment vehicle operational under Laisenia Qarase’s prime ministership.

It is not known how much the PNG owners have now sold their shares for and if they have managed to recover their investments.

Now redesigned and refurbished, the ‘Grand Ole Lady’, as the GPH is more commonly referred to, was built in 1914 by Union Steamship Company and sits on a portion of over two hectares of land along the foreshore of Suva harbour.

PORT Moresby, Papua New Guinea - Only four Observers have been reported missing in foreign fishing vessels and not 18 says the country’s fisheries and marine resources minister, Patrick Basa. He made the clarification in response to assertions by East Sepik Governor Allan Bird that up to 18 Papua New executive Mike Johnston says. Johnston said that the company was working with its financial advisers to find the additional financing.

During a recent meeting with the Mining Minister Johnson Tuke, Johnston said: “For the project, the final capital we need to raise an additional roughly about US$250 million. And then there is working capital and exploration that we intend to do which brings it up to about US$300 million. That’s the final capital,” Johnston said. Meanwhile, the company is confident that the Solwara 1 project will go ahead as planned. Johnston said the project is set for production next year.

Fiji retired teachers off to Kiribati Suva, Fiji - Ten retired teachers will soon leave for Kiribati to work for two years under the Fiji Volunteer Services Scheme. This is after the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the Fijian government and the government of Kiribati last month. read more buy your personal copy at


Bougainville says no

The Bougainville Autonomous Government has rejected the Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL) Panguna mining license bid following divisions among landowners. According to BCL company secretary Mark Hitchcock, the Bougainville Government said “it was a tight split between approval for mining and non-approval for mining and as it was too close, they felt that it might lead to conflict.”

“There are small groups of opposition but there is always mining and those opinions have to be listened to and understood, but as a general rule we see strong support for mining and for Bougainville Copper,” Hitchcock said. The Bougainville Government also recently imposed a moratorium on any company restarting mining at the site. Hitchcock said BCL would continue discussions with the Bougainville Government and wouldn’t abandon plans to restart the mine. He said it was up to the landowners, who have the final and ultimate say on whether they go for mining and who they go mining with. read more buy your personal copy at

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