Prince Charles launches Solomon Islands’ Ocean Policy

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HONIARA, 28 November 2019 -– His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, has launched the Solomon Islands Ocean Policy, which aims to step up sustainable management and conservation of the Solomon Islands fisheries industry.

The Prince oversaw the launch event at the Lawson Tama Stadium on Monday, 25 November, during his recent visit to Honiara. The visit focused on climate change and ocean governance.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, attended by more than a thousand people, the Prince of Wales said the natural environment of the country is important for its prosperity and security.

His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, speaking at the official launching of the Solomon Islands Ocean Policy (document inserted) in Honiara on Monday, 25 November 2019. Photo: Ronald Toito’ona.

He said it is sad to see the environment of the country, just like many other countries in the world, threatened by climate change, global warming, pollution, unsustainable logging, and overfishing.

“If you keep your natural heritage, your children and your grandchildren will also benefit from them,” he said.

He added that something urgent needs to be done.

The Prince said that, for that reason, he was pleased to be part of the launching program to witness the important government new ocean policy.

“I hope the policy will secure the marine ecosystem that surrounds these islands and to bring wealth, health and wellbeing for the future generation,” he said.

Prior to the launch, His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, also addressed the national parliament of Solomon Islands.

At the parliament, the Prince of Wales praised Solomon Islands for establishing the marine protected areas initiatives to protect fish and food nutrients, and said it is vital for survival of the endangered oceans creatures.

“Marine protected areas are utterly essential mechanisms to increase fisheries catch,” Prince Charles said.

“If the world achieves target of protecting 40% of oceans by 2030, the global fishing catch will actually increase by 57%.

“It seems such an immense potential for the Solomon Islands for taking leading role by protecting [marine areas]. This will help to increase dramatically the productivity of fisheries and major boost to tourism sector,” Prince Charles told parliament.

He added that besides Solomon Islands’ human capital, the precious natural environment and biodiversity of its islands, on land and water, and below the water, represent immense reserves of natural capital.

“As you would appreciate far better than me, your islands are blessed with an astonishing biodiversity of global importance, with your coral reefs being the second most diverse in the world,” the Prince said.

“But such natural capital wealth which, if sustainably managed, should be the bedrock of your economic growth, is at the same time very fragile. Its very fragility is increased immeasurably and alarmingly by the great impact of global warming, climate change and natural capital intrusion.”

In a brief introduction of the Solomon Islands Ocean Policy at the launch event this week, the Director of the Government Communication Unit (GCU), George Herming, said the National Ocean Policy provides a framework that will guide the integrated governance over 1.9 million square kilometres of ocean.

“The policy carried the vision of the Government and people of Solomon Islands for a healthy, resilient, secure and productive ocean that supports sustainable use and development for the benefit of the people and children of Solomon Islands now into the future,” Mr Herming said.

“This is a policy path that we have chosen to join the Malaysia Ocean, recognising its values and opportunities, embraces many uses and to proactively address our ocean threats,” he added.

More significantly, Mr Herming said, through the policy Solomon Islands is joining the global community towards meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

He said the Cabinet under the Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) and Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela endorsed the policy in November 2018, and Monday’s launch marks the beginning of the journey to roll it out. 

This is being supported by the current government of Manasseh Sogavare, the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA).

When speaking at the launch, the Solomon Islands Prime Minister said the National Ocean Policy provides the framework to safeguard the health and integrity of the ocean to benefit the current generation but, more importantly, would leave a legacy for future generations.

“The policy will also ensure we met our national, regional and international commitments,” Mr Sogavare said.

He added that Solomon Islands is a large ocean state with 98.2% covered by ocean, and only 1.8% covered by land.

“This is our reality and we are ocean people living in harmony with our ocean, our culture, our spirituality, our livelihood and our sustaining is interlinked to our ocean,” he said.

“To protect opportunities and pursue development opportunities from our ocean, we developed a robust and integrated ocean governance policy that entrenches a vision of a healthy, resilient, secure and productive ocean that supports sustainable use and development for the benefit of the people of Solomon Islands now and into the future.”

As part of His Royal Highness’s visit to Solomon Islands, he also took the time to tour the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) at the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) headquarters in Honiara.

At the FFA HQ, the Prince was welcomed by the Director-General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, and Forum Fisheries Committee Chair, Mr Eugene Pangelinan.

FFA Director General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen and Forum Fisheries Committee Chair Mr Eugene Pangelinan farewell His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, after his tour to the FFA HQ. Photo: Ronald Toito’ona .

Though the visit was short, the Prince of Wales was briefed about FFA’s work in the area of sustainable fisheries management, and on regional efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and minimise the impacts of climate change.

 “We emphasised the importance of cooperation in the sustainable utilisation of our fisheries resources because of its critical importance to the economic, cultural and social fabric of our Pacific people, and consistent with the long track record and commitment of His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, to sustainable management of the world’s oceans,” said Dr Tupou-Roosen.

According to Mr Steve Masika of the FFA RFSC, the Prince was also told of how the work of the FFA is linked to the newly launched Solomon Islands Ocean Policy.

After the RFSC tour, HRH Prince Charles also met FFA staff, engaging with them on aspects of FFA’s work.

Staff members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) were fortunate to meet Prince Charles during his visit to the FFA headquarters in Honiara. Photos: Ronald Toito’ona.

“It was a great honour for our staff to meet the Prince of Wales and we were pleased to have an opportunity to present him with a gift as a token of our appreciation,” Dr Tupou-Roosen said in a statement.

Boats to boost security in Solomons: Sogavare

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HONIARA, 15 November 2019 – The arrival of the new Guardian class patrol boats for Solomon Islands will greatly improve the capabilities of the local police force to serve the nation, secure its borders, and protect its people and resources, says Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Sogavare made the remarks when he received the new Guardian class patrol in a ceremony at the Austral Australia Shipyard, Henderson, Perth, Western Australia, on Friday, 8 November.

The vessel is the first of the two new Guardian class patrol boats for Solomon Islands, donated by the Australian government.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Solomon Islands, I am deeply honoured and privileged to officially receive the new Guardian class patrol boat from the government and people of Australia to replace the first of our two aging patrol boats that had served my country well over the past three decades. We are truly grateful,” Mr Sogavare said.

“This ceremony demonstrates the depth and breadth of the friendship and partnership between our two governments.

“This relationship has endured and strengthened over time, embodying our shared values and mutual respect for each other.”

The patrol boat is part of the broader Australian Pacific Patrol Boat Program. The program demonstrates Australia’s interest in and commitment to assisting its smaller Pacific Island neighbours to step up and increase their respective capabilities to provide security for their countries.

“Solomon Islands is honoured to be part of this excellent program,” the Prime Minister added.

Prime Minister Sogavare, Madam Sogavare and Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services, in a group photo with Hon. Melissa Price, MP. Photo: Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat

The Australian Government has been providing support to Solomon Islands through the Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) and the Pacific Patrol Boat Program for more than 30 years. This reflects the true friendship and ever deepening partnership between our two countries over many years.

According to the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, the ceremony is symbolic and historical, as it testifies the success of the bilateral and security collaboration between Australia and Solomon Islands.

He said the new Guardian class boat is bigger, faster, and more capable than anything that came before it.

“It will greatly improve the capabilities of the RSIPF [Royal Solomon Islands Police Force] to serve our nation, secure our borders, and protect our people and resources.

“This new vessel will help our police and related government agencies to carry out essential national security and humanitarian tasks.

“This include fisheries surveillance and marine enforcement, disaster evacuation and humanitarian response, maritime search and rescue, law enforcement, and general policing services across the country, particularly for outer and remote islands,” Mr Sogavare stated.

The PM added that the new Guardian class vessel is an impressive feat of modern engineering which will take Solomon Islands to new heights in protecting its waters.

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Deputy Commissioner (DC) for National Security and Operational Support, Mostyn Mangau, said the Australian Government newly donated patrol boat will greatly benefit the local police and the country.

Mangau accompanied Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Police, National Security and Correctional Services Minister Anthony Veke to receive the new patrol boat.

In a Police Statement, DC Mangau said the new boat is purposely to conduct maritime surveillance and enforcement operations like fighting illegal fishing, search and rescue for distressed boats, VIP escorts, and other border operations.

Mangau also thanked the government and people of Australia for the gift of the new patrol boat.

“I would also like to thank the Australian Defence Program and Australian High Commission in Solomon Islands for making possible arrangements for the official handing over ceremony held in Perth, Western Australia, last week.”

RSIPF maritime officers, who are currently being trained on board the RSIPV Gizo in Perth, will sail the patrol boat to Solomon Islands and expected to arrive in Honiara by the middle of next month.

A formal welcome ceremony is being planned for the arrival of the new patrol boat to its new home, the Aola Patrol Base in Honiara.

It has a length of 39.5 metres, and a complement of 23 crew members. It is powered by two 5,400 hp diesel engines, and can travel 3,000 nautical miles at minimal speed.

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Pacific told of need to sustain tuna stocks

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‘Tuna is health’ was the theme for this year’s World Tuna Day (Photo: Fabien Forget, ISSF)

(HONIARA) With increasing demands for tuna stocks in the global market, the Solomon Islands and other Pacific region communities were reminded of the need to put in measures to ensure there are sustainable tuna stocks for the future.

Solomon Islands Minister for Fisheries & Marine Resources (MFMR) and Deputy Prime Minister, John Maneniaru highlighted this great reminder when speaking at the World Tuna Day 2019 Celebrations in Honiara, on Thursday 9th May 2019.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘Tuna is health’.

Mr Maneniaru said it is very important to take heed of the demands for the Pacific Tuna and the time is crucial for Solomon Islands and the Pacific Region.

Over the years the assessments on the tuna stocks in the region proved that taking the right measures will help the region address issues of sustainable management of tuna resources, notably depleted stocks.

“Today, with the high demand for tuna globally, the resource needs to be sustainably managed.

“This is important as our country takes a lot of revenue from this resource. Because of this resource many of our people can be employed (for example those who are currently employed by SolTuna and importantly tuna is a source of food and livelihood to our many, many coastal communities,” the Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister, said.

He added that as stakeholders to this important resource, his Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources (MFMR) will need to align its commitments towards ensuring sustainability of the country’s tuna stocks.

He assured the nation as the Minister responsible for Fisheries that he has dedicated himself to the development and sustainable management of tuna resources.

“As responsible Minister, I will collaborate with other stakeholders to ensure all Solomon Islanders receives maximum economic and social benefits from the country’s tuna resources,” Mr Maneniaru added.

Speaking according to the theme for the World Tuna Day 2019, Mr Maneniaru said for Solomon Islands, the country needs its tuna for a healthy community, healthy economy, a healthy nation, that is, a healthy Solomon Islands.

He said the WTD 2019 is a day of reflection and a day to reassure the nation’s commitments to the developments of tuna fisheries as well as the commitments towards the sustainable management of Solomon Islands tuna resources.

“It is our responsibility as fishermen who catch the fish, and as consumers who eat the fish.

“As a Solomon Islander, what is your take today? Whether you are a fisherman, a fish processor, policy maker or a decision maker, what is your commitment or contribution towards these important resources,” he asked.

For Solomon Islands, Tuna is the second largest revenue earner behind the depleting Logging Industry.

Kaburoro Ruaia, Manager of US Treaty at the Forum Fisheries Agency, confirmed the importance of tuna to the region during the World Tuna Day celebration in Honiara, Thursday 9th May.

Kaburoro Ruaia, Manager of US Treaty at the Forum Fisheries Agency, speaking about the importance of tuna to the region

He said the total annual tuna catch in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), where FFA Members are located, is estimated at 2.5 million metric tonnes.

“This is worth about $47 billion (US$5.8 billion), which is 60 percent of global catch.

“About 60 percent of the WCPO catch is made in FFA waters, which is estimated one third of global catch by volume (worth about $25 billion -US$3.48 billion),” Ruaia said.

Ruaia said the vision of FFA Members is to maximise social and economic benefits from the sustainable use of tuna resources.

He said this means making a positive difference in the lives of our Pacific people.

“The role of FFA is to assist and provide support to Members in achieving this vision.

“The assistance and support are delivered thought advisory services in tuna fisheries management, enhanced economic return, and coordinated monitoring, control and surveillance (MSC) activities,” he said.

The Manager, US Treaty at FFA said World Tuna Day provides an opportunity to celebrate some of the achievements of FFA Members, who own a large part of the world’s resources of tuna stock.

The WTD is celebrated on May 2 annually following the recognition of United Nations in December 2016.

However, the event was celebrated by Solomon Islands on Thursday 9th May, 2019 after the country settled down with the formation of its new government amidst minor tension in Honiara after the election of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

New ‘tuna’ polymer $5 banknote for Solomon Islands

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(HONIARA) The tiny Melanesian state of Solomon Islands now has a new polymer $5 banknote, which was officially released earlier this month.

It was launched on the International World Tuna Day (WTD) 2019, and one of the special features on the new $5 banknote is a ‘Tuna’.

The major design themes of the new note focus on creating a sustainable and responsible fishing industry, according to Daniel Haridi, Chief Manager – Currency, Banking, and Payments Department

The new note emphasises the importance of providing long term economic security for the nation, as well community and social cohesion.

“The design features a yellow-fin tuna and a traditional fishing hook on the front of the note to signal the importance of sustainability. 

“On the reverse side, we see a traditional spear-fishing scene that highlights the need to preserve and promote community activity as we move into the future,” Mr Haridi said.

Mr Haridi also stressed that the note handled challenges of cash usage through more than 900 islands and was the result of a comprehensive currency review conducted by the bank that revealed an opportunity for improved performance on the five-dollar note.

“Given the humidity and the common practice of crumpling banknotes, the review concluded that polymer would better serve the community for use as a market note due to its durability,” said Mr Haridi.

As a symbol of progress for the Solomon Islands, Mr Haridi also announced that the new polymer banknote will be the first circulating note in the world to include a new ultraviolet (UV) ink security feature.

“This feature can only be seen under UV light, and consists of two UV inks which are red and yellow on this note, that are also combined to create a third colour which is orange. 

“The visual effect is stunning and authorities checking the new note under UV light will be able to instantly authenticate the note,” said Mr. Haridi.

Speaking at the event to launch the new ‘Tuna’ banknote, Dr Luke Forau, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) said, the design element focuses on the fisheries sector.

“It should remind us of the important role that the fishing industry contributes to economic growth in SI.

“You will note that the yellow fin tuna is portrayed in the clear window on the note. On the reverse side of the note, traditional fishing is portrayed which is an emotional hook that we all relate to. Importantly, this design underscores our vision for a strong sense of community and social cohesion, which is vital to our nation’s future,” he said..

In addition, Dr Forau said the durable and recyclable characteristic of the polymer also fits with the country’s vision for a sustainable and responsible fishing industry.

“The design elements may be small but we hope that each time a person looks at the note he or she is reminded of the contributions of the tuna industry to this nation and the potential that we can get from this industry going forward.”

During last week’s WTD celebrations in Honiara, Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI), statistic report stated that tuna contributed a high percentage of revenue income to Solomon Islands economy.

The industry’s contribution to Solomon Islands Government revenue on average is $260 million, of which 90% comes from fishing licenses.

When revealing the report at the World Tuna Day Celebration 2019 in Honiara, CBSI Statistical Analyst, Mr. Benjamin Kiriau said the report was based on istorical economic data for 2014 to 2018.

The report shows that tuna industry’s contribution to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) is on average five percent.

“Fish exports contribution to total exports is on average 11%.

“A positive correlation between the tuna and logging has depicted the significant contribution to the country’s total exports and overall economy in terms of foreign receipt earnings.

“Tuna production is mostly on average 30,467 metric tons,” Kiriau said.~

Regional cooperation vital for fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

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HONIARA The cooperative work between the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) member countries is vital in the fight against the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU), says the Deputy Director General Wez Norris.

Mr Norris says cooperation is one of the biggest determinants of sustainable fishing in the Pacific region.

He says, without cooperation none of the successes of operations against IUU fishing in the Pacific region would have been achieved.

“There is no other international cooperation in fisheries on this sort of scale that we’re aware of.

“Again, it comes down to a very long history of Pacific countries working together in cooperative fisheries management that really makes it work,” the deputy director general of the region’s biggest fisheries network says.

Wez Norris, FFA Deputy Director believes regional cooperation is the key to sustainable fishing in the Pacific

Norris explains two critical factors in the Pacific region leads to the small island developing states (SIDS) coming together to have such high impact operations against IUU.

Firstly, are the co-operative operations between SIDS, including the Tui Moana (covering the Polynesian countries), Rai Balang (the Micronesian states), Island Chief (Melanesian countries), and Operation Kurukuru, which covers the whole of the Pacific region.

Norris says this cooperation between SIDS would not work without each country freely and openly sharing its information with each other and with partner organisations, including the FFA..

The second critical factor in the fight against IUU is the support FFA receives from the quadrilateral surveillance providers: Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States.

“There is no other international cooperation in fisheries on this sort of scale that we’re aware of, “ Norris says.

“Again, it comes down to a very long history of these countries working together on fisheries management that really makes it work.

“The combination of having that open relationship amongst the countries then having a supportive role that the secretariat can play through the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre {RFSC) is critical”.

Phil Rowe who is the Surveillance Training and Liaison Officer at the RFSC also stresses the importance of cooperation.

Mr Rowe says, without the regional partners, they would not be able to combat IUU.

“Without our regional partners, we can’t conduct the operations and we won’t be out there looking for illegal fishing activity.

“So it’s vitally important that we get support from all those concerned,” Rowe says.