Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) celebrates 40 years of service

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Small catch. Photo: Francisco Blaha.

HONIARA, 9 August 2019 – Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) celebrated 40 years of service with a dinner hosted by the Director General, Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen.

The Guest of Honour was the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Honorable Manasseh Sogovare.

FFA was established in 1977 when Pacific Island Forum leaders decided to establish a South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency open to all Forum members and all countries in the region ‘who support the sovereign rights of the coastal states to conserve and manage living resources’ including highly migratory species.

A year before its Independence, Solomon Islands agreed to host the FFA headquarters.  First housed in a two-bedroom property in Lengakiki in 1979 with a membership of 10 countries, the headquarters moved to its current location on Kolale road in 1985 with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding areas and now has a membership of 17 countries.

Solomon Islands has continued to support FFA over the years and has remained a valuable partner and host, one that the organization is always grateful for.

To mark the 40th anniversary of FFA, Dr Tupou-Roosen said “that the FFA’s success over the past 40 years has been about people, and this evening, is to honour these very people who have served the region”.

FFA provides a Forum for Regional Cooperation that ensures our members can leverage our fisheries resources to maximize economic and social benefits for our communities. “Strength Through Cooperation” is the key factor for the success of FFA, Dr Tupou-Roosen said.  It is the platform for members to share information and work together. Some of the key achievements for FFA over the years have been Harmonised Minimum Terms and Conditions for Fishing Vessel Access, Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) framework and the Multilateral NTSA.

Anniversary celebrations in August began with an open day for primary school children with separate visits the next day for secondary students. Coinciding with the celebration, FFA hosted a  is the JudiciaL Symposium, with the theme “Responsibility in Fisheries”, attended by several Chief Justices and senior members of the judiciary from the region.

Dr Tupou-Roosen, reflecting on the 40 years of the organization, said FFA is about making a positive difference in the lives of Pacific people, and thanked FFA members and the past and current staff of the Secretariat, many of whom have served the region for more than 30 years.  

Cooperation and empowerment has been and continues to be the key to its success.


For more information and photos contact Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, ph: +677 21124

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.

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PCCOS shows how integrating science from different fields makes for better decisions

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PCOSS can help decision-makers in the Pacific Islands ensure that locals like these two Papua New Guineans continue to be owners of their fishery resources. Photo: Francisco Blaha.

Staff of the new Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science (PCCOS) played a game to demonstrate to Pacific Community (SPC) leaders at their June meeting how better decisions arise when decision-makers can integrate knowledge from many different scientific and technical fields. 

SPC’s Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA) agreed at the meeting to expand the new centre of excellence in ocean science.

The Director of SPC’s Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division, Dr Andrew Johns, explained in a video about PCOSS why the work of the centre is needed.

“The ocean is a great, interconnected system, and while we tend to work in sectors, the ocean doesn’t behave in sectors. So, what happens in one area what happens in another area, and we have to manage it accordingly,” Dr Johns says.

He says that, by bringing together all the science that’s happening across SPC, PCOSS makes it easier for information about one area or sector to be informed by science from all the other areas. This allows governments and communities to make better decisions that support communities in integrated ways.

Fresh tuna sliced and displayed for sale in Noumea shop. Photo credit: FFA.
Fresh tuna for sale in Noumea … to manage fisheries to ensure continued supplies of tuna for generations, decision-makers need access now to integrated scientific knowledge from services such as PCOSS. Photo credit: FFA.

The data and information also needs to be accessible and well-communicated.

“A key part of what we’re doing is making sure we’re translating science in a way that’s understandable to people,” Dr Johns says.

“Better science leads to better decision-making.”

Much of the information and data that PCOSS pulls together is available from the Pacific Data Hub, a web platform that pools all SPC’s data. One of its 12 themes is fisheries.

Dr Johns says PCOSS is useful nationally, to help individual countries manage their maritime zones, and internationally, because it can “provide a voice for the Pacific”. 

The establishment of PCCOS (pronounced pea-coss) was announced at the Pacific Community’s 70th anniversary celebrations in 2017. SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems division was given the job of setting it up. It worked with two other parts of SPC, the Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division and the Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Programme, to get the centre up and running. 

The 49th CRGA meeting was held at the SPC headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia. 

Study: Climate change will redistribute tuna populations

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Photo: Inigo Onandia/AZTI

Republished from Undercurrent News, 18 April 2019

More skipjack and yellowfin tuna will move to the tropical waters, while albacore, Atlantic bluefin, bigeye and southern bluefin will shift into colder seas in the future, according to research led by AZTI, a Spanish research body. 

If a coastal country’s local fleet anticipates the changes in abundance and distribution of the target species, it may adapt its fishing gear or change its target species, said Haritz Arrizabalaga, who carried out the study with Maite Erauskin-Extramiana.

“Knowing in advance what will happen in the future enables adaptation strategies to the transformations to be drawn up. [A coastal country’s local fleet] may be able to continue fishing the same species, but investing in larger vessels, capable of going out further in search of these species,” said Arrizabalaga.

The researchers took into account the effect of the environmental conditions on the worldwide distribution of tuna species, such as albacore, Atlantic bluefin, southern bluefin, tropical bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin between 1958 and 2004. This enables the influence of climate change in the future to be assessed and specific predictions to be made, they claim. The study has been published Global Change Biology

“During the historical period analyzed, the habitat distribution limits of the tuna have moved towards the poles at a rate of 6.5 kilometers per decade in the northern hemisphere and 5.5km per decade in the southern one. Based on the influence of climate change, even strong changes in tuna distribution and abundance are expected in the future, particularly at the end of the century (2088 – 2099),” said Arrizabalaga.

More specifically, the study forecasts that temperate tuna species, such as albacore, Atlantic bluefin and southern bluefin, will move towards the poles. Bigeye tuna will reduce its presence in the tropics and will move to warmer areas. On the other hand, the analysis predicts that the main two canned tuna species — skipjack and yellowfin — will become more abundant in the tropical areas, as well as in most of the fishing areas of coastal countries, or in other words, in the maritime economic exclusive zones which stretches from their coastline to a distance of 200 nautical miles.

“Tuna predictions offers relatively good news for tuna fishing to continue as an important food source, due to the origin of the main tuna protein consumption in humans comes from skipjack and yellowfin tuna from the tropical area,” said Arrizabalaga.

The study has enabled analysis on how the worldwide distribution and abundance of the main tuna species will vary due to climate change and, in this way, quantify the future trends of the tuna populations. 

“Tuna species are resources of enormous economic importance and a key source of protein for much of the population. As a result of climate change, their habitat distribution is changing and, related to this, the opportunities of different countries to access this source of wealth. This study aims to explain what has happened in the past and predict what will happen in the future so that countries and fishing fleets can come up with adaptation strategies to the new circumstances,” said Erauskin-Extramiana.

Sharks at increasing risk of becoming fishing bycatch

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An adult shortfin mako shark entangled in fishing rope. Photograph: Daniel Cartamil/PA

Researchers call for urgent action to protect large species in international waters

Australian Associated Press, The Guardian – 25 July 2019

The world’s shark populations are at increasing risk of becoming bycatch of international fishing fleets, which harvest them in open oceans where no legal protections exist, Australian researchers have said.

Prof Rob Harcourt, from Macquarie University, said large sharks were more vulnerable to longline fishing and called for urgent action to protect them by implementing management strategies on the high seas.

Harcourt joined colleagues from Australia and 25 other countries to collect and collate data from nearly 2,000 sharks tracked using satellite transmitter tags.

Read the rest of the article here.

Courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd.

For more information on the Bycatch Management Information System (BIMS) operating in the Western and Central Pacific, visit