SustainPacFish – New web portal links to information on sustaining and conserving Pacific oceanic fisheries

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SustainPacFish is a new web portal designed to provide Pacific fisheries managers and industry with links to the latest information about measures to conserve and manage Pacific fisheries, especially tuna.

Launched today (23 March 2018), SustainPacFish is an initiative of the Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP2) funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).

FFA Director General, JamesMovick, says SustainPacFish was designed after surveying potential users of the Pacific. It publishes the latest information about conservation management measures and actions to implement them.

“Our aim is to link people involved in fish in the Pacific – industry, researchers, communities and government – with definitive information about management, policies and practices that lead to sustainable use of Pacific fisheries and the conservation of our marine resources,” he says.

The new web portal is carefully designed to meet the needs of those involved and interested in Pacific fisheries. 400 leading figures involved in different aspects of oceanic fisheries management and sustainability were asked what they wanted, and they nominated simplicity, clarity and a focus on data.

“I want to know how many fish are out there, how healthy the stocks are, and what is predicted for the future,” says one respondent. “That’s the only way we can write fishing policies that will keep our industry alive and well.”

Important information is already available through web sites operated by the FFA, Pacific Community (SPC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

“This site is not to duplicate this information but to provide an easy one stop shop to these sites and others for fisheries managers, governments and industry.

“We provide links and summaries – that’s why we call it a portal, a doorway to access information”. Movick says SustainPacFish also synthesises and simplifies existing information about Pacific fisheries that is not already accessible on other websites.

Users of the site can choose from six topics: fish stocks, economics, catch & harvest, bycatch, compliance and observers.

Once users have selected their topic they can then choose to look at information and links on a whole of region scale or by looking at the subregional grouping of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA).

Additional content on subregional agreements and on individual countries will be progressively added as will content about the activities, progress and outcomes of the OFMP2.

“There is a lot of management, compliance, policy and research work happening across the region at any given time, all related to ensuring the future of our tuna fisheries,” says Movick.

See: http://sustainpacfish.net/

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) initiated the OFMP2 project, which is being implemented by FFA and managed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The OFMP2:

  • Supports Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as the major bloc at the WCPFC to adopt regional conservation and management measures
  • Supports innovative approaches being developed by Pacific SIDS at a sub-regional level, as they collaborate in fisheries of common interest
  • Assists SIDS to apply measures nationally in their own waters and to their fleets.

For more information contact:

OFMP2 Coordinator, Hugh Walton, hugh.walton@ffa.int

OFMP2 web portal contact, Jenni Metcalfe, jenni@econnect.com.au, phone +61 408 551 866

Solomon Islands’ strong IUU fishing stance assures EU market

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The Solomon Islands has safeguarded its $500 million a year tuna export industry by taking strong measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in its waters.

In good news for the industry earlier this year (March, 2017), the European Commission lifted its cautionary ‘yellow card’, which had been in place since December 2014.

At that time, the EC determined that the Solomon Islands’ Government was not doing enough to combat IUU fishing in Solomon Islands’ waters.

Solomon Islands fisheries exports to the European Union are worth some SBD$500m annually, and an escalation to red card status would have been a disaster for the industry.

(Source: SPC)

The lifting of the yellow card status is an indication that strong enforcement for handling, processing and food safety is now in place.

The shift from yellow to green card status is recognition of collaborative efforts on the part of fisheries stakeholders, according to Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Director General James Movick.

“The announcement ends more than two years of hard work led by the Solomon Islands government, other ministries working with the fisheries sector, and the industry,” he said. “We could not be more pleased that the tireless work to address these concerns and challenges have met with success.”

The Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) is also delighted with the news.

“This is excellent news for the fishing industry, for fishermen and for companies like Soltuna, which processes tuna here in the Solomon Islands for international markets,” said PITIA’s executive officer Johan Maefiti.

“On behalf of all our members, we would like to congratulate everyone who worked hard to make this happen. We have implemented strong mitigation measures against IUU fishing, and assured our access to critical European Union markets going forward.”– Press Release Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association, PITIA