Media Release: Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency leads one of the largest maritime surveillance operations globally to end Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing

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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 between October 7-18, 2019 and covered 21.3 million square kilometres. It is coordinated from the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre 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.”

“The 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 both at sea and dockside, with only four infringements found. The FFA Surveillance and Operations Officer Commander Robert Lewis, 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 Fijian Navy was not only the first female Fijian Naval person to attend Operation Kurukuru but also one of the first females 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.

##ENDS##

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

 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

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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.

##ENDS##

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

 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