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.

##ENDS##

For more information and photos contact:

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

Richard Clark, FSM Public Information Office, +691-920-1612richard.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

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

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.”

##ENDS##

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

FFA Embraces the Call to Action for A “Balance for Better” World

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Republished from Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

HONIARA, 8 March 2019 – As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we recognise that the theme “Balance for Better” – a call to action for driving gender balance across the world – resonates with our own FFA vision.

“Our own FFA vision to cooperate to maximise benefits for our people through the sustainable use of our offshore resources is fully aligned with this theme. Sustainable management and development will not be successful unless we bring all of our people with us – men and women – on an equal footing,” said FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen.

In this our 40th Anniversary year, we take this timely opportunity to underline the FFA’s commitment to working actively alongside our member governments to further promote four critical objectives:

* To remove barriers, both formal and informal, that impede or deter the full participation of women within the offshore fisheries sector;

* To address the scourge of domestic violence and provide the practical support to do so;

* To work with all of our partners, including in the private sector, to promote greater gender balance and a respect for diversity that must underpin all our work;

* To acknowledge and celebrate the success and achievement of women in the sector.

In 2016, our Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial meeting adopted the FFA Gender Equity Policy to guide all our work. To give a practical focus to this, the FFA Secretariat launched our Domestic and Family Violence Policy, which offers practical support to any staff member suffering from domestic violence. We recognise that no workplace is immune from these challenges, hence the importance of offering a compassionate and supportive environment for those affected.

Dr Tupou-Roosen said “On this special day we also acknowledge and celebrate the many thousands of women who are actively engaged in our offshore fisheries sector. These range from those employed in the processing and commercial sectors to those working as team leaders in their areas of expertise and in senior leadership roles.”

“Women are spearheading new pathways in what were once non-traditional areas of work including engineering, surveillance, ports, environment, fisheries observers and advocacy. Without a doubt, this success story will continue.”

Over the coming year and beyond, the FFA Secretariat will continue to work closely with our Members and partners to make this theme a reality in our sector.

Further information and photos contact: Donna Hoerder, FFA Media

ph: +677 773309, 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. Follow us on Facebook | on Twitter #Ourfishourfuture #tuna #forumfisheries #fisheries2019 #ourmoanaourfish #FFA40th

First fishery achieves MSC certification for bigeye tuna

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PRESS RELEASE – Marine Stewardship Council, 7 March 2019

A Chinese owned longline yellowfin and bigeye tuna fishery in the Federated States of Micronesia has achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for its bigeye tuna catch. This is the first time that bigeye has been certified to the MSC’s globally recognised standard for sustainable fishing.

The fishery, owned by three Chinese fishing companies, Liancheng Overseas Fishery (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd (SZLC), China Southern Fishery Shenzhen Co. Ltd (CSFC) and Liancheng Overseas Fishery (FSM) Co. Ltd. (FZLC), achieved MSC certification for yellowfin in October 2018.  Following an independent assessment by conformity assessment body, Control Union, bigeye can now be added to the list of certified species caught by the fishery. 

The latest stock assessment for bigeye in the Western Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) shows that stocks are healthy and being fished at a sustainable rate. In order to ensure that the fishery can respond to any changes in the health of the bigeye stock, certification is conditional upon the adoption of harvest strategies including harvest control rules, by all member states of the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) by 2021. 

Bill Holden, Senior Fisheries Outreach Manager for the MSC in Oceania & South East Asia said: “We congratulate Liancheng and their partners for becoming the first fishery to be eligible to sell MSC certified bigeye tuna. They are demonstrating true leadership in sustainable fishing. To maintain their certification, Liancheng will need to work with other fishing organisations and the WCPFC to agree to important management measures to safeguard bigeye tuna stocks. As a result, this certification could influence the sustainability of bigeye fishing across the entire WCPO.”

Sam Chou, President of Liancheng Overseas Fishery (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd., the parent company of the three fleets certified said: “We are extremely proud to have the first bigeye tuna fishery to be certified to the MSC Standard.  It is a distinct honor.  Liancheng is the largest Chinese fleet to achieve MSC certification. We are dedicated to achieving certification for all our fisheries.”

Liancheng is also responsible for the Cook Islands South Pacific albacore and yellowfin longline fishery which achieved MSC certification in 2015. Its yellowfin and bigeye tuna fisheries in the Republic of Marshall Islands are also undergoing MSC assessment, with a conclusion expected by the end of 2019.

Joe Murphy, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Liancheng said:“Our customers and consumers recognize the value of MSC certification, and our ability to provide fish for sale with the blue MSC label. We hope to market MSC certified bigeye catch in China, Japan, Asia, the United States and Europe.” 

Samoa and FFA sign agreement on Regional Aerial Surveillance Program

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Republished from Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

APIA, 28 February 2019 – The Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi and FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise Samoa’s support for the FFA’s Regional Aerial Surveillance Program.

The Regional Aerial Surveillance initiative is funded by Australia as part of the Pacific Maritime Security Program to enhance the surveillance capacity of Pacific Island countries to deter, detect and respond to illegal or security-related activities occurring in their Exclusive Economic Zones.

Under the MoU, Samoa will host one and Vanuatu the other, of two King Air200 aircrafts fitted with high-tech sensors, avionics and communications technologies, capable of detecting fishing vessels over a wide area of ocean. Dr Tupou-Roosen said the MoU with Samoa was another significant step forward.

“I wish to acknowledge the generous support of the Government of Australia to strengthen the surveillance capabilities of participating Members through the Pacific Maritime Security Program. This will enable the FFA to assist Pacific islands countries in further addressing maritime surveillance needs and enforcement operations,” said Hon. Tuilaepa Malielegaoi.

“The surveillance programme, in conjunction with the Pacific Patrol Boat program, will provide targeted maritime patrolling and enhance the ability of Pacific island countries to defend against regional maritime security threats such as illegal fishing and transnational crime,” he added.

“The Marshall Islands signed a similar agreement earlier this month and now Samoa is also demonstrating leadership with its willingness to host one of the King Aircraft. Our Members are contributing to a new level of regional cooperation, with Australia funding the Program and the FFA Secretariat managing the planes and working in close consultation with Members,” said FFA DG, Dr. Tupou-Roosen.

The Regional Aerial Surveillance Program commenced in December 2017. Two King Air aircrafts will provide 1400 hours of aerial surveillance per year for 15 FFA Members.

The Regional Surveillance Programme provides targeted maritime patrolling
Image: FFA

For further information contact:

Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, donna.hoerder@ffa.int, ph: +677 7733097

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.

Follow us on Facebook | on Twitter #Ourfishourfuture #tuna #forumfisheries #fisheries2019 #ourmoanaourfish #FFA40th

About Samoa Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)

The Ministry is responsible for the administration of Government’s business with foreign countries and their governments as well as international organizations. It also endeavours to initiate and continue to provide high quality and professional policy advice to Government on the management of Samoa’s foreign and trade relations. The Ministry is committed to promoting Samoa’s national interests to achieve most benefits in relation to political, trade and economic and security 

PRESS RELEASE: Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority Signs Fisheries Collaboration MoU with Thailand’s Department of Fisheries

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Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, 22 February 2018 – Tuna transhipments from fishing vessels to refrigerated carrier vessels is a daily occurrence in Majuro port and represent a vital element of the Pacific tuna fishery and the ongoing Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS) efforts undertaken by Pacific Island countries.

Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) officials, along with their NZMFAT Offshore Fisheries Advisor, were in Bangkok, Thailand this week to attend the 6th Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop (GFETW)* from 18 – 22 February 2019.

Along the margins, the team took the opportunity to hold brief bilateral discussions with the Thailand Department of Fisheries on issues of mutual interest, namely, the signing of a fisheries cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The MoU, signed on 22 February, is the result of a year-long engagement between the 2 countries whereby both sides identified that reciprocal exchange of fisheries data was an area of critical importance that would require mutual collaboration between key players, in this case, RMI (Majuro) being arguably the busiest transhipment port in the world and Thailand (Bangkok) as the largest tuna receiving/processing port.

With the signing of the MoU, the RMI, through MIMRA, will now be able to receive verified weights of tuna catches that are transhipped in Majuro and offloaded in Bangkok from Thai fisheries inspection officers on a regular basis.

In essence, this will enable officers on both sides to trace the catch both ways to ensure its legality throughout the entire chain of custody thereby preventing Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices. This verified information is vital to further understand the magnitude of the catch underreporting problem in the region.

MIMRA will provide relevant transhipment data to Thailand’s Department of Fisheries including estimation of volumes transhipped in Majuro port along with departure clearance of carrier vessels with full traceability of catch on board and hatch plan totals – information that Thailand has otherwise been unable to collect from Coastal States whose EEZs the catch is taken and in this case the port of Majuro where a large volume of the tuna that ends up in Bangkok is transhipped from purse seine fishing vessels onto carrier vessels.

The MoU is in line with the RMI IUU-Free Pacific initiative as declared by H.E. Madam President Dr. Hilda C. Heine last year. Having this direct link of collaboration with a key player like Thailand further facilitates the fulfilment of obligations under the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), which the RMI, through MIMRA, is currently considering signing and ratifying in the near future.

*The GFETW is a biennial or triennial conference organized by the International Fisheries Monitoring Control and Survelliance (MCS) Network to improve and enhance capacity and communications of MCS practitioners around the world. Sustainable fisheries can only be achieved when fishing is pursued in compliance with the applicable rules, and therefore all fishing activities in the world’s oceans and seas should be subject to adequate levels of monitoring, surveillance, inspection and enforcement.

MEDIA RELEASE: FFA wins global Stop IUU Fishing prize

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BANGKOK 22 February 2019 – The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) was awarded the top prize in the 2019 Stop Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing competition yesterday.

“This achievement recognises FFA’s work in Monitoring, Control and Surveillance initiatives to deter IUU fishing in the Pacific. Well done to the team at FFA, past and present, and all of our FFA member countries. And the award is particularly timely given FFA has just kicked off our 40th anniversary celebrations,” said FFA Director General, Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen.

“This award is a reflection of the work we do to protect the rights of FFA members over the tuna within our Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), and the foundation of the economic and social benefits that flow from that. We have to ensure that there is long term sustainability of oceanic fish stocks to secure our peoples’ future livelihoods and regional food security.”

A panel of judges used a range of key criteria including demonstrated success and innovation in reducing IUU, the feasibility and cost of IUU mitigation activities, the potential for replication and approaches to education and capacity building.

“In preparing our submission for the award, the FFA Secretariat felt we were well able to demonstrate high level performance against all the criteria” said Dr Tupou-Roosen. “Our integrated approaches to combatting IUU are coordinated through the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre at FFA and encapsulated in our Regional Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Strategy.”

“The underpinning theme of FFA and the IUU strategy is our regional cooperation. That is our Pacific way and it is the only way we are going to ensure a successful, safe, secure and prosperous future for our region,” said Dr Tupou-Roosen.

The bi-annual competition is run by the Global Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network and was announced at its meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

While receiving the prize on behalf of FFA, the Acting Director for Fisheries Operations, Mr Allan Rahari, extended his thanks to the judges for their confidence in FFA, as well as the hard work and commitment of the FFA Secretariat’s current and former staff, and the Member countries. The FFA video that was part of the Agency’s submission for the award can be viewed below.


About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
FFA was established to help its 17 member countries sustainably manage their fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA is an advisory body providing 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 through agencies such as the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). www.ffa.int Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

FFA was established to help its 17 member countries sustainably manage their fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA is an advisory body providing 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 through agencies such as the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). www.ffa.int Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

#Ourfishourfuture #tuna #forumfisheries #fisheries2019 #ourmoanaourfish #FFA40th