PORT MORESBY, 11 December 2019 – A landmark Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) resolution on climate change has been adopted by the 16th annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), creating a platform for a more urgent response to global warming by the world’s largest tuna fisheries organisation.
The resolution (see below) means the WCPFC will now more closely consider the impact of climate change on migratory fish stocks, food security and livelihoods in the Commission’s Convention Area, as well as the implications for fishing activities.
The effects on small island developing states (SIDS) will be a particular focus.
The resolution was passed today during the final hours of WCPFC16. It also means the WCPFC will take account of climate change when developing conservation and management measures and support more investigation of the issue by Commission scientists.
Additionally, the adopted resolution requires the WCPFC to consider how it can reduce the environmental impacts of its operations.
FFA Director-General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said FFA members were extremely pleased to see the resolution adopted, given the particular vulnerability of Pacific island countries to climate change.
“From the perspective of FFA members, the adoption of this resolution is a key development,” Dr Tupou-Roosen said.
“It establishes a solid foundation for a more urgent approach to the threat of climate change, and not a moment too soon. While the resolution is non-binding, it will underpin momentum on this critical issue.”
FFC Chair Mr Eugene Pangelinan said, “As responsible fisheries managers, we have a part to play in addressing climate change, and the WCPFC’s willingness to endorse this resolution will send a powerful message globally that it is stepping up to the challenge.”
He added that the focus in the resolution on assessing the impact of climate change on SIDS was particularly pleasing.
“We came into WCPFC16 lobbying for Commission members to consult more comprehensively with SIDS. The special reference in the adopted resolution to SIDS shows that our concerns are being heard. There’s a long way to go, but this resolution is a good starting point.”
FFA resolution on climate change: media backgrounder
The text below is the wording of the resolution FFA put to WCPFC16.
Resolution on climate change as it relates to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
The Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean,
RECOGNISING international initiatives to address the impacts of climate change including through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;
NOTING the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change;
MINDFUL of the work of the Scientific Services Provider to the Commission in assessing the impacts of climate change on target stocks and non-target species, and species belonging to the same ecosystem or dependent or associated with the target stocks in the Convention Area;
NOTING that Pacific Islands Forum Leaders reaffirmed at their meeting in August 2019 that climate change is the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific and their commitment to progress the implementation of the Paris Agreement;
FURTHER NOTING the Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now made by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in August 2019;
NOTING the importance of addressing the potential impacts of climate change and other environmental degradation on target stocks, non-target species, and species belonging to the same ecosystem or dependent or associated with the target stocks in the Convention Area;
NOTING the objective of the Convention to ensure, through effective management, the long-term conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks in the western and central Pacific Ocean in accordance with the 1982 Convention and the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement;
Consider the potential impacts of climate change on highly migratory fish stocks in the Convention Area and any related impacts on the economies of CCMs and food security and livelihoods of their people, in particular Small Islands Developing States and Participating Territories.
Support further development of science on the relationship between climate change and target stocks, non-target species, and species belonging to the same ecosystem or dependent on or associated with the target stocks, as well as interrelationships with other factors that affect these stocks and species, and estimates of the associated uncertainties.
Take into account in its deliberations, including in the development of conservation and management measures, scientific information available from the Scientific Committee on the potential impacts of climate change on target stocks, non-target species, and species belonging to the same ecosystem or dependent on or associated with the target stocks.
Consider how climate change and fishing activities may be related and address any potential impacts in a manner consistent with the Convention
Consider options to reduce the environmental impacts of the Commission related to headquarters operation and meetings of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies.
For media enquiries, contact Tevita Tupou, +675 7333 9945
Yellowfin tuna … stocks of this and other species are a focus of FFA’s platform at WCPFC16. Photo: WWF
PORT MORESBY, 4 December 2019 – Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) members have developed a comprehensive list of priorities for the 16th meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC16), including climate change as a central plank.
The meeting opens in Port Moresby tomorrow, 5 December.
Forum Fisheries Committee Chair Eugene Pangelinan, of the Federated States of Micronesia, commended FFA members for their strong commitment and solidarity in preparing for WCPFC16, before listing the priorities for FFA Members which include progress on target reference points for key tuna stocks, tightening up monitoring of transshipment on the high seas, improving the process for reviewing compliance with measures, and making progress on high seas limits and management of longline fisheries.
FFA Director-General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said FFA members are calling on the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to take stronger action on climate change.
“Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation and the impact on Pacific Island countries is particularly threatening, given that tuna fisheries provide significant economic, social and cultural benefits,” Dr Tupou-Roosen said.
“FFA is asking for increased attention by Commission scientists on the implications of climate change for the region’s tuna stocks, and consideration of what conservation and management measures (CMMs) can be put in place to reduce the carbon footprint of both Commission activities and fishing in Pacific waters managed by the Commission.
“Our members are proposing a resolution on Climate Change.”
Enhanced consultation between the WCPFC and small island developing states (SIDS) is also a key agenda item for FFA this year.
Mr Pangelinan said that FFA would be pushing in Port Moresby for Commission members to consult more comprehensively with SIDS when proposing new measures.
“Unfortunately, some measures have been presented to the Commission with inadequate assessments of the potential impacts on SIDS. For example, any measure that has significant implementation requirements should be informed by direct consultation with small island developing states,” he said
Mr Pangelinan and Dr Tupou-Roosen concluded by expressing thanks on behalf of FFA to Papua New Guinea for hosting this year’s Commission meeting.
Further details about key issues for FFA Members at WCPFC16 are in the attached below in the media backgrounder.
Media enquiries: Mr Tevita Tupou, +675 7333 9945
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 decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int
Media backgrounder: Summary of key FFA agenda items for WCPFC16
Following are details of FFA’s key priorities at WCPFC16.
The FFC Chair and the FFA Director-General will be available for brief media conferences or interviews during the Commission meeting, as time permits. Please direct requests to Mr Tevita Tupou on +675 7333 9945 or by email to email@example.com.
1. Climate change
Tuna fisheries are a critical resource for many Pacific Island countries, providing essential social and economic benefits. The impacts of climate change are particularly severe in the Pacific and place at great risk the benefits of the region’s tuna fisheries for small island developing states (SIDS).
FFA members are therefore calling on the WCPFC to collectively take stronger action on climate change, and will introduce resolution DP04 seeking that the Commission:
Fully recognise the impacts of climate change, in particular on the fisheries, food security and livelihoods of small island developing states and territories.
Take into account in its deliberations, including in the development of conservation and management measures, the impacts of climate change on target stocks, non-target species, and species belonging to the same ecosystem or dependent or associated with the target stocks.
Estimate the carbon footprint of fishing and related activities in the Convention Area for fish stocks managed by the Commission and develop appropriate measures to reduce such footprint.
Develop options such as carbon offsets to decrease the collective carbon footprint of CCMs and the WCPFC Secretariat associated with meetings of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies.
2. Tuna measures
The skipjack target reference point (TRP) is due for review at WCPFC16. FFA members support the Scientific Committee recommendation that the review be informed by the latest stock assessment. This indicates that a spawning biomass depletion ratio of 42% will achieve roughly the same fishery outcomes as the 50% TRP was projected to achieve when it was adopted in 2015.
Therefore, our recommendation is that the Commission adopt a 42% TRP, which is consistent with the level of fishing and the status of the skipjack stock in 2012.
Bigeye and yellowfin tuna
WCPFC16 is due to agree TRPs for yellowfin and bigeye tuna, which will be important in terms of implementing harvest strategies.
FFA members want to maintain bigeye and yellowfin stocks at levels that will create a very low risk of breaching the limit reference points (LRPs), consistent with the UN Fish Stocks Agreement guidelines. They also want modest increases in stock levels, to support ongoing economic management of the purse-seine fishery and to facilitate development opportunities for the SIDS’ longline fisheries.
In the absence of agreement on new TRPs, FFA feels strongly that the current objectives in the Tropical Tuna Measure for Yellowfin and Bigeye must be maintained. We also believe the economic, social and biological implications of the TRPs must be carefully considered, including their interaction with the TRP for skipjack tuna.
Reaching agreement on these TRPs at WCPFC16 is a challenging task, given the diverse objectives of Commission members. If consensus isn’t possible, WCPFC16 needs to clearly identify any further technical work required to support a decision in 2020, and capacity building to ensure all Commission members understand the implications of harvest strategy elements.
South West Pacific swordfish
FFA will encourage WCPFC16 to support advice from the Scientific Committee that current conservation and management measures for Swordfish (CMM 2009-03) need to be strengthened.
North Pacific swordfish and North Pacific albacore tuna appear to be in relatively good shape, but the Pacific bluefin stock level remains a problem, and this risks the reputation of the WCPFC when the health of other stocks demonstrates good management.
South Pacific Albacore work plan
FFA is seeking renewed focus on the work to build the South Pacific albacore fishery to the TRP agreed in 2018.
FFA has taken the lead in revising the South Pacific Albacore Roadmap work plan, to focus on setting an overall hard limit and on the split of the overall hard limit between the high seas and the exclusive economic zones (EEZs).
The other priority is to ensure that the new measure for South Pacific albacore recognise zone-based management (ZBM), EEZ limits, data collection, and reporting requirements.
3. High seas limits
High seas limits and allocation are also a focus for FFA this year. FFA is providing perspectives to the Commission on the provisions of CMM 2018-01 that commit to limits and an allocation framework for the purse seine and longline fisheries in the high seas. FFA members will promote agreement on a process for 2020 for advancing negotiations on high seas limits, with a view to reaching an agreement at WCPFC17.
FFA members will promote agreement on a process for 2020 for advancing negotiations on high seas limits, with a view to reaching an agreement at WCPFC17.
4. Compliance monitoring scheme
FFA members have worked hard with other Commission members over the last several years in the review of the Compliance Monitoring Scheme. Of high priority in the reform of the scheme is the way in which the Commission reviews the performance of members in implementing their monitoring and enforcement obligations at the national level. FFA members support the Commission’s role in identifying and targeting systemic issues with the implementation of obligations by Commission members and moving away from reviewing and assessing the actions of individual vessels. The core purpose of the Compliance Monitoring Scheme is to review the actions of flag states in respect of their vessel activities, and not of the individual vessels themselves. This approach is taken with a view to promoting and supporting compliance by all members as the foundation for achieving Commission management objectives.
FFA members remain concerned about the lack of effective monitoring of transhipment on the high seas, particularly by large-scale freezer longline vessels. This constitutes a significant gap in our ability to monitor and verify longline catches on the high seas, and we consider it to be a high priority issue for the Commission’s work to stamp out illegal fishing.
The FFA is seeking finalisation of the Transhipment Intersessional Working Group’s 2020 work plan, with a focus on identifying gaps in the current measure and defining measures to close those gaps.
Our members will advocate at WCPFC16 for adequate resources for this important work.
6. Harvest strategy
FFA is seeking more detailed economic analyses to support the harvest strategy work plan as it enters a complex stage at WCPFC16. FFA’s position is what while the work plan should be ambitious, it must also be realistic and there is a need for capacity building for SIDS and other Commission members to ensure they fully understand the harvest strategy work and its implications.
One of the key issues before the Commission will be targets for multiple species and how these might be achieved (e.g. harvest-control rules). FFA notes that SC15 endorsed a hierarchical approach for multi-species considerations. Members want further time to consider the implications of this, noting that it is likely to involve changes to the structure of the work plan.
7. Consultation with SIDS
FFA members are concerned about the lack of consultation with SIDS by some WCPFC member nations when proposing new measures to the Commission.
Some measures have been presented to the Commission with inadequate assessments of the potential impacts on SIDS, including implementation costs where additional investment will be required. Impact assessments require consultation and this must take place well in advance of Commission meetings when new proposals are being considered
On another issue, FFA members look forward to receiving the WCPFC Secretariat’s report on the first year of the Strategic Investment Plan.FFA members express appreciation for the voluntary contributions from Australia, Canada, Korea and the United States to the Special Requirements Fund.
8. Electronic reporting and monitoring
FFA views the Electronic Reporting (ER) and Electronic Monitoring (EM) Working Group as extremely important, particularly for the longline fishery where the reporting record of many vessels is poor and independent verification of vessel reporting through observer courage is struggling to reach 5%.
As standards and procedures for ER for both operational catch and observers have now been agreed for two years, FFA believes a date should be set for 100% electronic reporting by all active vessels on the Record of Fishing Vessels (RFV), and by all observers.
We note that many FFA members are implementing ER for fishing within their EEZs, and propose that ER be implemented for all fishing on the high seas by the start of the 2022 fishing year.
The next step is to recommend Commission-wide minimum standards for electronic monitoring (EM). The work that done this year on reviewing data requirements and sources and determining priority gaps, should enable the Working Group to progress this task in 2020.
Mobulid ray measure
FFA members are putting forward a proposal for a new measure to prevent targeted fishing and retention, and promote the safe release, of mobulid rays such as manta rays when they are caught by WCPFC fisheries.
10. Charter Notification Scheme
As CMM 2016-05 expires this year, FFA members propose a roll-over of the measure for a further two years. The Charter Notification Scheme is an essential component of WCPFC’s fisheries management framework and facilitates SIDS’ participation in fisheries. For example, chartering provides a mechanism for SIDS to develop their own commercial tuna fisheries in an incremental manner without requiring an unaffordable initial capital investment.
11. Harmful fisheries subsidies
FFA members reiterate the call by Pacific fisheries ministers at the 16th FFC Ministerial Meeting in June 2019 for negotiations to be completed on a new WTO agreement to prohibit harmful fisheries subsidies.
These subsidies can contribute to economic losses in the fisheries sector and distort global fish markets, with serious impacts on food security and livelihoods, particularly in SIDS.
We support the ministers’ view that any outcome should not unnecessarily constrain the ability of SIDS to develop their tuna fisheries and that appropriate differential treatment for SIDS should be an integral part of these negotiations.
The following acronyms will be in common use during WCPFC16.
The FFA Director-General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, and the FFC Chair, Mr Eugene Pangelinan, present His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, with a carving of a tropical tuna on Monday, 25 November 2019. Photo: FFA.
HONIARA, 25 November 2019 – The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) today hosted His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, on a visit to FFA headquarters in Honiara.
His Royal Highness is in Solomon Islands as part of a wider visit to the region that is focussed on climate change, regional ocean policies and sustainability.
FFA Director-General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, and Forum Fisheries Committee Chair Mr Eugene Pangelinan from the Federated States of Micronesia, welcomed His Royal Highness to the FFA as part of what is HRH Prince Charles’ first visit to the Solomon Islands.
“We shared details about FFA’s work in the area of sustainable fisheries management and briefed the Prince of Wales on regional efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and minimise the impacts of climate change,” said Dr Tupou-Roosen.
“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.”
HRH Prince Charles undertook a tour of the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) before meeting FFA staff and engaging with them on aspects of FFA’s work.
“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.
For more information and photos contact Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, ph: +677 773 3097, firstname.lastname@example.org
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
FFA assists its 1 -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 decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int
HONIARA, 25 October 2019 – The Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) lead Operation Kurukuru is one of the largest maritime surveillance operations globally covering an area the land size of Russia, India and Egypt combined.
The multi-million-dollar operation targeting illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing was conducted from 7–18 October 2019 and covered 21.3 million square kilometres. It is coordinated from the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) at the FFA Secretariat in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, said: “Operation Kurukuru is the largest of the four major operations coordinated and supported by the FFA each year. These operations empower members to take collective and national action against IUU fishing and the success of these operations is due to the commitment and partnerships with our members along with the assets provided by Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States.”
operation consumes considerable resources, but we continue to undertake them to
ensure our members have the highest levels of social and economic benefits
through the protection and sustainable use of our offshore fisheries
resources,” she added.
The 12-day operation saw around 132 sea days of active patrolling and 540 flight hours of maritime air surveillance. There were 131 boardings at sea and dockside, with only four infringements found.
The FFA Surveillance and Operations Officer, Commander Robert Lewis, who is seconded from the Royal Australian Navy, said: “The fact there were no unknown fishing vessels found with such thorough air surveillance coverage and only 4 infringements imposed with such a high level of boarding is evidence that current regulations and law enforcement practices are working well with the four FFA operations leading the effort.”
Ordinary Seaman Sereima Naiqovu from the Fijia Navy was not only the first female Fijian naval person to attend Operation Kurukuru but also one of the first women to join the Fiji Navy.
In her capacity as watch keeper during the operation, she said: “The operation was a great experience for me, mostly as I got to experience and learn a lot of new things from the RFSC. I was overwhelmed to be given the opportunity to be the first female in the Fiji Navy to go for an operation, and I look forward to experiencing and learning more new things.”
Operation Kurukuru aims to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential IUU fishing activity, but also looks to build capacity of watch keepers, intelligence analysts and supervisory staff seconded to the RFSC during the operation, to conduct their own operations upon their return home.
The operation involves 15 FFA members – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. It also involves the Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group: Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States of America.
information contact Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, ph: +677 21124
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency
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
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
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
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
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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#fisheries2019 #FFA40yrs #FFA40th
Market wharves of Honiara, Solomon Islands. Photo: Francisco Blaha
Solomon Islands, Tuesday 6 August 2019 –the Honourable Chief
Justice of the Solomon Islands Sir Albert Palmer and the Director-General of
the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen yesterday
opened the first Pacific regional judicial symposium on the theme “Responsibility
The judicial symposium is attended by members of the
judiciary from the Pacific Islands region, a judge of the International
Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, and international law experts, and will
discuss in particular the responsibility of States, the responsibility of
international organisations, and the responsibility of persons, in the
governance of fisheries.
The Honourable Chief Justice said: “Globally, this
area of international law is relatively new and gaining prominence and it is
essential that members of the judiciary are appraised. This Symposium provides
an opportunity for our region to be a pioneer in considering the attribution of
responsibility in fisheries to States, international organisations, and
FFA Director-General said: “Fisheries plays a central
role for Pacific Islands people – in our culture, food security and economic
development. It is for these fundamental reasons that our FFA Members take
their responsibility in fisheries very seriously and continue to set
world-leading standards. This judicial symposium is significant – it is an
expression of that commitment. It is also important that the symposium is held in
the very week of our 40th anniversary. Our ongoing work honours the
visionary decision of our Leaders to establish FFA.”
It is anticipated that the discussions will be robust
and delegates will gain an enhanced recognition and understanding of their role
in attributing responsibility under international law vis-à-vis the
responsibility of: States in their capacity as flag States, coastal States,
port and market States; international organisations including regional
fisheries management organisations and advisory agencies; and persons. The judicial symposium will be held from 5 –
8 August 2019 at the FFA Conference Centre in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries
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
Judge Tomas Heidar of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea addresses the regional judicial symposium on IUU fishing and the international law of the sea
Honiara, Solomon Islands, Monday 5 August 2019 – Judge Tomas Heidar of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), who serves as President of its Chamber for Fisheries Disputes, today delivered a keynote address to the regional judicial symposium on the topic “IUU fishing and the ITLOS advisory opinion”.
This appears to be the first time a judge of ITLOS has participated in a regional judicial conference.
Judge Heidar described how the ITLOS Advisory Opinionfrom 2015 on the request of the Sub-regional Fisheries Commission elaborates on the responsibilities of coastal states and flag states in combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The Honourable Judge Heidar said: “The ITLOS advisory opinion in particular gives teeth to the relevant treaty provisions on flag-state obligations and has already had an impact on state legislation and practice.
“It offers guidance to coastal states for holding liable the flag state of a vessel conducting IUU fishing activities in their EEZs for a breach, attributable to the flag state, of its due diligence obligations prescribed in the advisory opinion.”
The Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, said: “The contributions of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the interpretation and application of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea are noteworthy.”
Dr Tupou-Roosen added: “The ITLOS advisory opinion provides useful guidance on the management of fisheries resources.
“The advisory opinion is clear that coastal states have primary responsibility for management of fisheries resources, and that flag states also have responsibility to exercise due diligence over their flagged vessels.”
The judicial symposium is being attended by members of the judiciary from the Pacific Islands region, and international law experts, and will discuss, in particular, the responsibility of states, the responsibility of international organisations, and the responsibility of persons in the governance of fisheries.
The judicial symposium is being held from 5–8 August 2019 at the FFA Conference Centre in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
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
Industry participants at the PITIA workshop and AGM. Photo: FFA
PITIA Press Release, July 2019 – The Pacific Island Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) held its AGM over two days recently in Nadi, Fiji.
PITIA has been constituted since 2005 and is supported by an Executive Officer based in Suva, Fiji. PITIA provides a voice for the domestic longline, purse seine, pole and line, and processing facilities into the wider policy and fishery management systems development across the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
PITIA makes inputs into Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) processes on annual basis, and participates in all the key meetings of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
PITIA is supported by its members and gets assistance from the European Union via the Pacific Island European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) via FFA and, for the last four years, by the FFA’s Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP2) which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) via the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Attendees at the AGM spent considerable time discussing priority concerns for industry in 2019, and matters that industry would like addressed at the WCPFC meeting in 2019. Time was also spent discussing the sustainability of the organisation and funding for the core function of paying the Executive Officer.
Those attending the meeting agreed that, given the importance of the challenges faced in the management and sustainability of the WCPO tuna fishery, there was a need for PITIA to promote higher levels of visibility regarding the importance of the role of the organisation and the networks already in place for PITIA to represent the interests of domestic industry into regional processes. It was also noted that national fishing associations represent both domestic and foreign domestic based vessels.
The meeting was addressed by Bill Holden of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), noting the MCS decision to align the Harvest Control Rules condition requirement across all MSC-certified tuna fisheries in the WCPFC.
They advised that there was an urgent need to ensure that the WCPFC stayed on track with the timelines in place for Harvest Control Rules under WCPFC CMM 2014-06.
The meeting was advised that there would be a firm deadline for the adoption of Harvest Control Rules for the four key tuna species at the WCPFC by end of 2021, and noted that if this condition was not met, it would result in the suspension of the region’s MSC-certified fisheries in 2022.
Noting the dependence of some key fisheries on the MSC premiums, the meeting strongly voiced the view that this matter be properly addressed at WCPFC.
PITIA Chair Brett Haywood, from Fiji, said: “We consider this matter to be a key priority for WCPFC, not just for our members but for all of the region’s certified fisheries.”
He further noted: “The MSC premium is fundamental to the economics of our longline fisheries and we simply cannot risk losing the certification.”
The meeting considered and “endorsed” the 2019 WCPFC priorities recently identified by Pacific fisheries ministers when they met in Pohnpei, FSM. These were listed as: sustaining zone-based management, adopting high seas catch limits and allocations, reviewing the transhipment measure, more active participation on the challenge of eliminating inequitable fisheries subsidies, and advancing a plan for the adoption of an electronic monitoring (EM) strategy.
In regard to the last, Mr Haywood added that there were a number of challenges for industry in regard to application and cost recovery, and ensuring EM viewing was risk-based.
“The current EM rollout programs are focused on the domestic fleets who are, in the main, compliant operators. The focus of EM needs to be on the high seas fleets as these are the more at-risk fleets” he said.
“We also need to ensure that the costs of EM are not overburdening for vessels, as this could encourage some licensed ‘in zone’ operators to relocate their effort to the high seas.”
The meeting attendees also noted the increasing need to focus on marine pollution and the disposal of plastic waste at sea. For some members, vessels are required to return all potentially polluting waste to ports for disposal. However, other than the difficultly of enforcing the MARPOL convention, it is a real challenge to apply pollution-prohibition compliance on the high seas.
“What happens to the plastic strapping and lining of the tuna longline bait boxes for vessels on the high seas?” Mr Haywood asked. “This matter needs to be properly addressed at WCPFC.”
The meeting also viewed a presentation on the recent work that has been done on the climate change impacts on Pacific tuna fisheries.
It strongly endorsed the recent suggestion that, in view of the last Forum Leaders’ instruction to more strongly address climate change impacts on tuna fisheries, and to help set the stage for bringing “climate justice” into the range of arguments for better consideration of SIDS fisheries interests and disproportionate burdens at WCPFC, that it might be useful to consider proposing a resolution to WCPFC for climate-change linkages to be considered or addressed in WCPFC measures.
A new five year strategic plan has been endorsed by fisheries ministers from across the Pacific region that will prove critical to protecting Australia’s interests and directly support profitable tuna fisheries in our waters.
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator Jonathon Duniam, said the strategic plan will help guide the actions of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
“The new plan sets out the priorities for action across the seventeen member countries of the FFA,” Minister Duniam said.
“As a region, we will be implementing harvest strategies, improving working conditions for crew of fishing vessels in the region and reforming management of longline fisheries.
“Australia can take a leadership role in many of these areas, which are vital to the success of Pacific fisheries and our regional prosperity.
“This agreement follows forty years of cooperative management of tuna fisheries—an outstanding achievement that continues to drive strong management of sustainable tuna fisheries across the region.”
Ministers also convened the first Special Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting which gave delegates the opportunity to discuss broader regional fisheries issues.
“The challenges that regional fisheries face—particularly supporting sustainable coastal fisheries and addressing marine pollution—will benefit from having a strong ministerial body to guide action,” said Minister Duniam.
“I look forward to continuing to work with my Pacific colleagues to achieve positive outcomes for the region.”
The Honourable Marion Henry, Federated States of Micronesia, signs the SAP. Hon. Henry was the FFC Ministerial Chair at this meeting, and the representative of the host government.
HONIARA, 26 June 2019 – Fisheries ministers attending the 16th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial Meeting in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, last week signed off on a key report, the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of Living Oceanic Resources by the Small Island Developing States of the Western and Central Pacific (the Strategic Action Programme or SAP), for submission to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
“GEF support has played a significant role in providing strategic assistance to FFA members in addressing oceanic fisheries challenges in the framework of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the region is very thankful for this support to date. We hope to see this support sustained as we continue to address these challenges and protect our fisheries resources for future generations to come,” she said.
Key issues to be addressed under the SAP include the impacts of climate change for the ecology and fisheries of the region, and the subsequent implications for the socio-economic status, livelihoods and food security of Pacific peoples; the need for stronger and more resilient adaptive ecosystem-based management approach that can adjust rapidly to changing conditions through mechanisms such as harvest strategies and bycatch management including the use of fish aggregating devices; and supporting innovations in tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Ministerial sign-off of the SAP is a key step in the GEF process for the possible development of a follow-up Pacific Regional Oceanic Fisheries Project to support Pacific Island countries tackle the challenges that lie ahead.
About the 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 decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision-making on tuna management. www.ffa.int