It’s generating interest from Hawaii investors
Want to eat Chinese, Japanese, American, Mexican or island food? No problem, Majuro has plenty of restaurants with flavorful fare to keep customers happily sated. Need cheap transportation around the island? Again, no problem. Stand on the roadside and within seconds a taxi pulls over to give you a ride. Need food, clothing or birthday supplies? No problem there, either: There are over 100 retail stores in the two-mile (3.2km) strip of land that is Majuro’s downtown. While Majuro businesses—at one time mostly run by Marshallese, but lately mostly driven by Asians—have successfully developed a service industry based on the largesse of government and its thousands of employees, coming up with developments that bring in new money through exports has been elusive.
Certainly, there is a growing field of unique handicraft products that are now making their way into international markets. But in fisheries and aquaculture, the recent history of the Marshall Islands is littered with failures, both government and private sector. A pilot fish-farming project in Majuro, with its first harvest successfully completed in early August, has pretty much thumbed its nose at the country’s dismal domestic fisheries history as it prepares for major expansion. Sponsored by the Rongelap Atoll Local Government and its energetic Mayor James Matayoshi, the fish-farming project has been in operation in Majuro for a year.
Following the small harvest, Matayoshi says Hawaii buyers and investors are so enthusiastic about the first-year results, that equipment for a commercial-level expansion are now on the way to Majuro for deployment. The project has targeted fish known as “moi” in Hawaii and commonly as “Pacific threadfin” which is prized in Hawaii’s market. While moi is not a fish widely eaten locally, it is known in Hawaii as ‘fish of the king’, says Matayoshi.
Matayoshi and the local government staff have partnered with several Hawaii businesses and entities, including Hukilau Foods, Diamonhead Seafood Company, and the Oceanic Institute, as well as the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority and the College of the Marshall Islands, to develop the fish-farming.
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