Call to end slavery at sea

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Improved conditions for crew working on tuna fishing vessels in the Pacific is a key outcome of the Forum Fisheries Committee meeting this week

POHNPEI, 10 May 2019 – The annual Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) Officials meeting concluded today with a headline decision to strengthen the regional minimum requirements for fishing licenses by adding crew employment conditions.

The outcome has already been hailed as “ground-breaking” by the 17 members as well as by international NGOs present at the meeting.

Speaking from the meeting the Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Dr Manu-Tupou-Roosen noted that the decision of members would now require embedding in national procedures.

“The fishing vessel operator will now become formally responsible for the health, welfare and safety of the crew while he or she is on board the vessel, and will be required to meet decent standards in respect of salary and conditions for all crew,” observed Dr Tupou-Roosen.

“This is a giant step forward in helping to ensure that the ‘slavery at sea’ identified in other global fisheries does not blight the Pacific region. It will help ensure that basic human rights are protected for those working in our offshore tuna fishery.”

The Chairman of the meeting, Executive Director of Federated States of Micronesia’s National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA), Eugene Pangelinan observed that “while the region’s regional offshore tuna fisheries are already the most sustainably managed in the world, we now expect all operators in the fishery to treat crew members in a way that reflects the values and expectations of our combined membership.” 

Executive Director Pangelinan also noted that by setting these standards more Pacific Island nationals will be motivated to become crew on fishing vessels thus meeting an objective to improve local employment in the Industry.

“This is a goal our leaders have set us and we are proud to be taking this work forward.”

Participants at the meeting have noted heightened concerns over conditions in high seas fisheries, especially on foreign longline vessels which often require crew to stay at sea for up to a year with poor pay and conditions and harsh penalties for dissent.

Meeting in Pohnpei, the 17 member countries of the FFA also agreed:

  • A final draft FFA Strategic Plan 2020-2025 for forwarding to Ministers for their endorsement when they meet next month
  • Strengthened work on assessing the impacts of climate change on offshore fisheries
  • A new Regional Longline Strategy to underpin stronger returns to island countries
  • Enhanced measures to eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing
  • Priorities for FFA members to take forward in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

This week was also a time of reflection for NORMA and FFA who both celebrate 40 years of operation.

“I cannot stress enough that although much has been achieved in 40 years, there is still much to do particularly with emerging issues and challenges such as climate change. We work to ensure our people enjoy social and economic benefits from a sustainably managed offshore tuna resource and this wouldn’t be possible without key partnerships,” said Dr Tupou-Roosen.

“I want to particularly thank NORMA for hosting us this year. But also I want to thank our members for their continued trust in us. Cooperation, is without a doubt what has brought us this far and it will be how we advance for the next 40 or more years.”

Coincidently, the fisheries meeting concludes on the 40th anniversary of the FSM becoming a self-governing nation.

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For more information and photos contact:

Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, +691 920 5332 donna.hoerder@ffa.int

Richard Clark, FSM Public Information Office, +691-920-1612richard.clark@gov.fm

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int

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#Ourfishourfuture #tuna #forumfisheries #fisheries2019 #FFA40yrs #FFA40th

About National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA)

The Government of Federated States of Micronesia, National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) manages oceanic resources and in particular tuna resources, within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Federated States of Micronesia.www.norma.fm

Climate change the most critical issue facing Pacific fisheries

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FFA members are seeking to advance a new regional longline strategy a this week’s Forum Fisheries Committee meeting (Photo: Francisco Blaha, Note: Photo serves an illustrative purpose and was not taken in the context of IUU fishing)

POHNPEI, 4 May 2019 — “The sustainable management of our offshore tuna resources must deliver stronger economic and social benefits to our island communities.” 

This is the key message from Forum Fisheries Agency Director-General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen as regional fisheries officials meet in Pohnpei for the Forum Fisheries Committee this week.

“Our offshore tuna fisheries in the Pacific are among the most sustainably managed of all global fisheries. The fisheries deliverhigh value to our Island Countries through zone-based management based on clear definition of the rights of FFA members to fisheries resources within our EEZs and on the high seas.” 

Dr Tupou-Roosen noted that Pacific leaders have identified climate change as the most critical issue facing the region.

“This is a complex issue and we need to identify targeted actions within the context of our tuna fisheries work, including through more effective collaboration with our regional partners and at the international level. “

Dr Tupou-Roosen anticipates that that FFA Members will seek to advance the core elements of a new Regional Longline Strategy.

This comes on the back of rising concerns that some longline fleets are avoiding licensing conditions by fishing and transshipping catch only on the high-seas with little monitoring of catch and effort and no effective contribution to island revenues.

“We need collectively to create the conditions for enhanced member benefits and member participation in the longline fishery, noting that differing components of the Strategy will reflect the diversity of membership interests” said Dr Tupou-Roosen.

A further priority will be to agree priorities to enhance advocacy in the lead-up to the year-end Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission annual meeting in Port Moresby in December.  Advancing the FFA’s steady push towards the implementation of a harvest strategy approach to fisheries management will feature heavily in these discussions.

“In celebrating our 40th year of operation we still face some big challenges” said Dr Tupou-Roosen “but we retain a strong commitment to meeting these through the strength of our commitment to regional cooperation in the offshore fisheries sector.”

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For more information and photos contact:

Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, +691 920 5332  donna.hoerder@ffa.int

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int

Follow us on Facebook | on Twitter

#Ourfishourfuture #tuna #forumfisheries #fisheries2019 #FFA40yrs #FFA40th

World Tuna Day: A reminder of a rich resource and the need to protect it

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(Photo: Francisco Blaha)

Joint media release, FFA & NORMA

POHNPEI, 2 May 2019 – The Western and Central Pacific Ocean holds the world’s largest tuna fishery with a total catch of more than 2.5 million tons a year. The target species (albacore, skipjack, bigeye and yellowfin) are being managed at sustainable levels and there is no over fishing occurring for these stocks.  This is in stark contrast to all other oceans.

(See fact sheet on www.sustainpacfish.net summarising the status of Pacific tuna)

“On World Tuna Day we are reminded of the need to maximise the economic and social benefits from tuna for our people, our communities and our Pacific region. We are also reminded of the critical importance of protecting this rich resource,” said FFA Director General, Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen.

“But we can’t achieve this unless we continue to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and use our world leading frameworks for cooperation such as the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement (NTSA).”

The Niue Treaty is an agreement on cooperation between FFA members about monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing – it includes provisions on exchange of information (about where the position and speed of vessels at sea, which vessels are without licences) plus procedures for cooperation in monitoring, prosecuting and penalising illegal fishing vessels.

While chairing the NTSA session at the 110th Forum Fisheries Committee officials meeting, National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) Executive Director, Eugene Pangelinan reminded delegates that “The NTSA provides members with a legally binding framework to work together to enhance monitoring, control and surveillance activities and ensure sustainability of our tuna resources in order to combat IUU fishing.”

He added that “One way to ensure we have maximum economic returns whilst achieving sustainability of the resource is by sharing information and resources as and when required, to help keep IUU fishing out of the Pacific neighbourhood and that is done through agreements like the NTSA.”

Two years ago the United Nations mandated World Tuna Day in recognition of the need to raise awareness about the importance of tuna and to promote more sustainable fishing practices.  

The FFA is the cornerstone for cooperation between Pacific Island countries in the management of their shared tuna resources.  The FFA Secretariat also provides support to its members with monitoring, control and surveillance activities through national capacity building and regional initiatives.FFA members are leading the way in eliminating IUU fishing through the Regional Aerial Surveillance Program, Regional Observer Program, Vessel Monitoring Scheme, Information and technology services, and working with member countries on innovative new tools such as the Persons of Interest Strategy. 

FFA staff currently attending the 110th Forum Fisheries Committee officials meeting in Pohnpei are joining World Tuna Day celebrations in a fishing tournament organised by NORMA. A celebration to also acknowledge 40 years of existence for two Pacific fisheries organisations – FFA and NORMA.

##ENDS##

For more information and photos contact:

Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, +691 920 5332  donna.hoerder@ffa.int

Richard Clark, FSM Public Information Office, + +691-920-1612 richard.clark@gov.fm

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int

Follow us on Facebook | on Twitter

#Ourfishourfuture #tuna #forumfisheries #fisheries2019 #FFA40yrs #FFA40th

About National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA)

The Government of Federated States of Micronesia, National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) manages oceanic resources and in particular tuna resources, within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Federated States of Micronesia. www.norma.fm

FFA and Japan agree new support to Pacific fisheries

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Observer training is an important element of Japan’s Pacific fisheries support. A PNG Observer at work. Photo Francisco Blaha

HONIARA, 18 April 2019 – Observer training, maritime boundaries and new training initiatives were on the agenda of a high-level meeting in Honiara on Tuesday between the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and senior representatives of the Overseas Fisheries Cooperation Foundation (OFCF) of Japan.

The OFCF of Japan provides annual funding to the FFA for a range of important initiatives that benefit FFA members.

“The OFCF’s support is very valuable. This partnership promotes mutually beneficial cooperation between FFA and Japan,” said the Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen.

Dr Tupou-Roosen highlighted new and ongoing initiatives supported by this Japan Promotion Fund particularly in the areas of:

·         Maritime boundaries – support for technical, policy and legal personnel from FFA Members and regional agencies to work together to address the processes required for the finalisation of boundaries. Recent recipients of this support include Palau, Vanuatu, and Fiji.

·         Observer training – support to the Certificate IV in Training & Assessment course for the Pacific Islands Regional Fisheries Observer (PIRFO) Trainers in June 2018. A total of 24 students graduated from USP Pacific TAFE with a level 4 qualification, 16 of which were directly supported through these funds.  PIRFO Trainers are able to plan, design, deliver, assess and certify students enrolled in PIRFO training courses. This qualification has become pivotal in the development and ongoing work in upskilling Observers in electronic reporting. 

·         FFA Training Website – support for the development of a dedicated site to access FFA training information and be more informed on training events in the region.  Responding to Member’s requests for closer coordination of training activities, the site aims to share training events, publications and provide those seeking careers in fisheries with scholarship links and opportunities.

Dr Manu-Tupou-Roosen noted: “The assistance provided particularly in the area of maritime boundaries aligns with the importance Pacific Leaders have placed on the urgency of securing the region’s maritime boundaries for the development and security of the region. We are grateful that the Japan Promotion Fund can support this important work and value greatly our relationship with the OFCF”.

##ENDS##

For more information and photos contact Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, ph: +677 7733097 donna.hoerder@ffa.int

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int

Follow us on Facebook | on Twitter

#Ourfishourfuture #tuna #forumfisheries #fisheries2019 #FFA40yrs #FFA40th

Cook Islands and the Forum Fisheries Agency look to strengthen co-operation

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Republished from Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

AVARUA, 10 April 2019 — Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Director-General (DG) Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen visited Rarotonga this week to discuss current and future co-operation between the Cook Islands and the Honiara-based FFA Secretariat. Dr Tupou-Roosen was appointed DG by FFA Ministers during the annual FFA Council of Ministers (FFCMIN 15) hosted by the Cook Islands in Rarotonga last year. 

The Cook Islands is the current Chair of the Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC), through Prime Minister and Minister of Fisheries Henry Puna and will relinquish the year-long Chair role to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) in June when Ministers meet in Pohnpei. 

“We welcome the visit of Dr Tupou-Roosen so early in her tenure as affirmation of her commitment to strengthening co-operation between the Secretariat and the Cook Islands,” said Secretary Tepaeru Herrmann of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI). 

“The FFA is one of our most valuable regional organisations and the regional solidarity approach that has been a hallmark of FFA collaboration for almost 40 years is what’s enabled our region, and our members individually, to sustainably manage our shared tuna resources to provide strong economic returns, which in turn support our development priorities.”

Left to right: Tepaeru Herrmann (Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration), Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen (FFA DG), and Pamela Maru (Secretary, Ministry of Marine Resources). Credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Cook Islands.

Dr Tupou-Roosen highly commended Secretary Herrmann’s leadership as the officials FFC Chair and looked forward to working closely with Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) Secretary Pamela Maru as she takes forward the chairing role through to its handover to FSM in May.

“The Cook Islands is an important player and leader in our regional fisheries, and we’re particularly grateful for their collaboration with the Secretariat in their role as the FFC Chair this past year through Secretary Herrmann. We sincerely thank our Ministerial Chair, the Honourable Prime Minister Puna, and his Government for the continued support to the FFA, and for being a staunch supporter of regional cooperation. We very much look forward to working closely with Secretary Maru through to FFC next month. The cornerstone of our success in regional fisheries is cooperation and this will continue to drive the way we operate in serving the Cook Islands and all our Members” said Dr Tupou-Roosen.

The visit provided an early opportunity to discuss the Cook Islands’ priorities as well as the FFA’s including its strategic focus for service delivery to countries, the 40th anniversary of the FFA and the establishment of a Regional Fisheries Ministers meeting to convene this year.

As part of the visit, the MMR Secretary Maru, discussed with Dr Tupou-Roosen the Cook Islands strategic interests in securing long term rights to regional fisheries resources, and strengthening relationships with our Pacific neighbours.

“Developing strategic partnerships enables the Cook Islands to investigate our fisheries development opportunities to meet national socio-economic and food security needs, whilst ensuring fisheries resources are managed sustainably within the wider regional fisheries management framework” Ms Maru said. 

Ms Maru, who was employed by the FFA for 6 years as a Fisheries Management Adviser prior to her assumption of the MMR Head of Ministry position in January this year, will head the Cook Islands delegation to the FFC Officials meeting which will convene in Pohnpei next month. 

MMR and MFAI will continue to strengthen collaboration with each other, and domestic and international partners in both the fisheries and oceans governance spaces in the coming months as both agencies look to elevate efforts to sustainably manage Cook Islands fisheries, whilst ensuring stable and secure access to regional fisheries resources.

For more information and other pictures, please contact:

Davina Toleafoa, +682 29347, davina.toleafoa@cookislands.gov.ck

Donna Hoerder,+679 9265518, donna.hoerder@ffa.int

Pacific fisheries leaders highlight Tuna Commission action

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Honolulu 14 December 2018 — Pacific Islands fisheries leaders expressed satisfaction with the actions taken this week by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to support sustainability of the fishery, minimum labor standards for fishing crews, and expanded participation of Small Island Developing States in the work of the Commission.

A compromise worked out late on Friday, the last day of the annual meeting, allowed for extension of important provisions of the Tropical Tuna Measure that is essential to sustainable management of the tuna fishery, said Forum Fisheries Agency Director General Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen and Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) CEO Ludwig Kumoru.

This includes continuation of provisions for a three-month prohibition on use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) by purse seiners in exclusive economic zones and high seas areas between 20°N and 20°S from July 1-September 30, and an additional two-month prohibition on FAD use on the high seas. By consensus, these FAD closures were extended for an additional two-year period, through the end of 2020.

As part of the compromise, PNA members agreed to compromise language regarding the definition of FAD sets in 2019 and agreed to work with others on this broader issue.

“We’re really pleased with the outcomes from this Commission meeting,” said Dr. Tupou-Roosen.

“We came into this week’s meeting with the position to maintain the strength of the existing tropical tuna measure — and this is what we accomplished.”

Mr. Kumoru agreed. “FAD closures are an important conservation action that reduces catch of juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna,” Mr. Kumoru said. “Maintaining the FAD closures is contributing to sustainably managing our tuna stocks.”

Several other actions of significance were endorsed by the WCPFC this week, including:

  • The adoption of the South Pacific albacore Interim Target Reference Point. “This is a milestone for the management of the South Pacific albacore fishery,” said Dr. Tupou-Roosen.
  • The adoption of minimum labor standards for crew on fishing vessels. “FFA Members continue to lead by setting the standards for responsible fishing in all respects,” Dr. Tupou-Roosen said, adding that this is the first tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organization to take this critical step for addressing labor standards for crew on board fishing vessels.
  • The decision for a 2019 review of the WCPFC transshipment measure originally adopted in 2009. “This review is critical to addressing the challenge of shortfalls in information from high seas transshipment activities, particularly on longline vessels,” said Mr. Kumoru.
  • The decision to provide compulsory funds to the Special Requirements Fund, which will help boost participation of Small Island Development State representatives in the decision-making processes of the Commission.
  • The adoption of a measure for the Compliance Monitoring Scheme. This will allow for continued monitoring and assessment of compliance by all Commission Members with the Commission’s obligations. “Doing this in a manner where it is effective, efficient and fair improves implementation of measures,” said Dr. Tupou-Roosen. “The measure adopted provides a solid basis to ensure this as part of our future work.”

Mr. Kumoru pointed out that in taking actions like adopting a resolution for minimum labor standards and agreeing to a review of high seas transshipments, the WCPFC is playing an important role in addressing a wide-range of issues affecting the fishery.

“We are promoting action in support of human rights for fishers working in our fishery and that go to addressing concerns about trafficking in people and other illicit activities,” said Mr. Kumoru.

Both credited the success of this week’s work to the tireless efforts of the Pacific Island delegates to the meeting.

“The solid outcomes are the result of the hard work, patience and tenacity of the FFA and PNA member delegations with valuable support from Ministers present, and the excellent cooperation they received from our key partners,” said Dr. Tupou-Roosen and Mr. Kumoru.

They also specially recognised the very able leadership of outgoing Chair Ms. Rhea Moss-Christian. “Ms. Moss-Christian’s steady hand, passion and commitment in steering the work of the Commission in the past four years has contributed immensely to advancing the Commission’s work.”

For more information on the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, contact Mr. Ludwig Kumoru, CEO, PNA Office, on email: ludwig@pnatuna.com, or ring PNA media coordinator Giff Johnson at (808) 699-1690 to arrange interviews with the PNA CEO.

For more information on the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, contact Hugh Walton on email: hugh.walton@ffa.int.

High seas transshipments of tuna targeted for action

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Honolulu 13 December 2018 — Pacific Island fisheries leaders want the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to effectively address a serious management gap in the tuna fishery: high seas tuna transshipments.

  The existing Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) measure governing transshipment was adopted in 2009 and is intended for review next year. 

  Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) members, including the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) bloc, want to see a WCPFC review process that is comprehensive and results in significant strengthening of the current measure.

   Ina letter last month to WCPFC Executive Director Feleti Teo, Forum Fisheries Committee Chairperson Tepaeru Herrmann expressed the concern of FFA members that insufficient regulation, monitoring and reporting of tuna transshipment, particularly on the high seas, was contributing to distort the reporting of catches.

  Ms. Herrmann said the current system of unmonitored transshipments on the high seas also exposed WCPFC members, cooperating non-members and participating territories (known as CCMs), and the wider Pacific region, to increased risks of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and transnational criminal activity.    

   Subject to not infringing on the right of CCMs to regulate transshipment occurring in areas under national jurisdiction, the WCPFC has a responsibility to effectively regulate transshipment activities to address these risks, she said.

  The aim of FFA members is to see all transshipments in the WCPFC area occurring in port. The FFA’s position is consistent with Article 29 of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention which provides that “the members of the Commission shall encourage their vessels, to the extent practicable, to conduct transshipment in port.”

  The PNA already requires all purse seine vessels operating in their waters to transship tuna in ports, which allows for monitoring of catch and other compliance measures to be enforced. PNA is also gearing to implement a ban on high seas bunkering for fishing vessels by fuel tankers beginning in2020. Currently, however, only a fraction of longline vessels transship their tuna catches in the ports of FFA members.  

   The current level and regulation of high seas transshipment activity is inconsistent with the objective of the WCPF Convention, said FFA Director General Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen and PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru in comments Thursday during the ongoing annual meeting of the WCPFC in Honolulu.

   Under the current WCPFC measure, there is to be no transshipment on the high seas except where a CCM has determined it is impracticable for its vessels to operate without being able to transship on the high seas. The measure requires CCMs to inform the WCPFC of any of their vessels transshipping on the high seas.

   The WCPFC measure requires a declaration prior to transshipping on the high seas, and a report after the operation is completed. A Final Compliance Monitoring Review report,which will address compliance with these and other provisions of the measure,is to be issued as part of the review of the 2009 measure scheduled for next year.

    The basis for approving high seas transshipments is that prohibition would cause significant economic hardship to vessels. This would be assessed in terms of the costs incurred and if in-port transshipment would require the vessel to make significant and substantial changes to its historical mode of operation as a result of the prohibition of transshipment on the high seas.

   “There is no proper mechanism for review of the transshipment justification and there is a shortfall in compliance with WCPFC reporting provisions,” said Dr. Tupou-Roosen.“This situation is untenable and results in high risks that catch data is not accurately and effectively reported.”

  She said FFA members are anxious to see the review of this 2009 transshipment conservation and management measure undertaken with diligence and a focus on compliance.

   She also noted the initiatives of many members to roll out electronic monitoring systems on longline vessels as a means of improving coverage for a sector of the Pacific tuna fishery that is currently not well monitored.

   “In2013, FFA facilitated the first electronic monitoring trials for longline vessels in the region in collaboration with SPC and industry. This trial coupled electronic systems with human observers to compare data in the context of WCPFC observer requirements,” she said.

More recently, four members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement — Palau, FSM, Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands — have engaged in a trial of electronic monitoring of longline vessels,using video cameras and training fisheries officers to use software programs to evaluate the film collected on longline vessels.

   “We need an outcome from this review (of the high seas transshipment measure) that properly addresses the reporting risks and results in the receipt of timely,complete and well-documented data from transshipment activity,” said Mr. Kumoru.

“Our position is to move as quickly as possible to a complete ban of all high seas transshipment. PNA already requires all purse seiners to transship their catch in port. We think all transshipments should take place in ports in our region. In-port transshipment generates economic benefits for our members as well as eliminating IUU and other risks inherent in unmonitored high seas transshipments.”

For more information on the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, contact Mr. Ludwig Kumoru, CEO, PNA Office, on email: ludwig@pnatuna.com,or ring PNA media coordinator Giff Johnson at (808) 699-1690 to arrange interviews with the PNA CEO.

For more information on the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, contact FFA media coordinator Donna Hoarder on email:donna,hoarder@ffa.int.

FFA backs stronger tuna management at Tuna Commission next week

Categories @WCPFC15, News, Press ReleasesPosted on

The 17 members of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) will again be advocating strongly for strengthened Conservation and Management Measures (CMM’s) at next week’s 15th session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meetings to be held in Honolulu from 9-14 December.

Specifically, the FFA will be pushing to advance several priority measures including the Tropical Tuna Measure and adoption of a Target Reference Point (TRP) for the South Pacific Albacore tuna stock.

“Sustained implementation of effective rights-based management by Pacific Islands countries over many years have been instrumental in the sustainable development of our region’s offshore tuna stocks,” said Tepaeru Herrmann, current Chair of Officials of the Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC).

“Our collective management of the region’s tuna stocks over many years has promoted sustainability, increased revenues and employment and helped to actively reduce illegal fishing but we cannot be complacent about future sustainability nor ignore the need for improved management of high seas activity in our region.”

Tropical Tuna and South Pacific albacore

High on the list for the FFA is the Tropical Tuna Measure – the flagship management instrument of the Commission which is intended to guarantee the long-term health of the bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna stocks upon which many Pacific Island economies depend.  FFA members are concerned to ensure that the measure is not weakened by pressure from major fishing nations to increase their share of the catch. “The recent upwards re-evaluation of bigeye tuna stock is no reason to be complacent about future sustainability” stated Matt Hooper, the Deputy Director General of the FFA.

WCPFC has also committed to adopt a Target Reference Point (TRP) for the South Pacific Albacore tuna stock at this year’s meeting.  FFA members are determined that WCPFC needs to follow through on this to help bring the fishery back into economic health. “For the past three years this matter has been deferred under pressure from distant water interests in the southern longline fishery” observed Mr Hooper, “We need to agree the TRP at this Commission meeting as a basis for improved management of this important fishery.”

FFA members met prior to the the Tuna Commission meeting next week to identify priorities

Improved Compliance with Agreed measures

The WCPFC Compliance Monitoring Scheme (CMS) is an audit-like process where all members sit as a panel to review compliance by each of them with the agreed rules.

FFA Director General Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen recalled “FFA members have consistently generated the majority of substantive conservation and management proposals within the WCPFC during its 15 years of existence.  FFA members remain committed to a CMS that is effective, efficient, fair and helps promote and improve compliance.”

FFA will be advocating for the CMS process to be streamlined and focus on ensuring compliance by members with WCPFC measures rather than getting embroiled in the detail of individual vessel level infringements which are dealt with elsewhere in the WCPFC’s processes.

FFA Senior Officials are currently meeting in Honolulu in preparation for next week’s Commission meetings, supported by the FFA Secretariat and the Office of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNAO).  The FFA will also meet with various delegation’s from Distant Water Fishing Nation’s (DWFN) this week who are also members of the WCPFC as part of building understanding of the issues and working towards consensus.

Background

While FFA member waters cover most of the fishable range of the tropical tuna stocks, the FFA members cannot fully conserve and manage these resources through their own zone-based actions. The annual WCPFC meeting is key to the collective management of fishing for tuna stocks in the whole Western and Central Pacific fishery and for agreeing limits on the exploitation of stocks, particularly in the high seas areas beyond the jurisdiction of FFA members. The Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) will convene in Honolulu the week before the main WCPFC meeting scheduled for 9-14 December to agree its approach to key WCPFC agenda items. Full collaboration and regional solidarity among FFA members, including the PNA member countries who manage the purse seine Vessel Day Scheme, is a key feature of this endeavour.

For further Information contact FFA Deputy Director General Matt Hooper at matt.hoopoer@ffa.int

New Director General of Forum Fisheries Agency starts

Categories Photography, The tuna picturePosted on
Congratulations Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, on her assumption of duties as the new Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency in Honiara   A milestone in the history of the FFA Secretariat in Honiara and its membership.
The Vision of the FFA is that “Our people will enjoy the highest levels of social and economic benefits through the sustainable use of our offshore fisheries resources”.