FFA welcomes PNA participation in briefings pre-WCPFC

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Honolulu 3 December 2018 — Following the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) officials session Sunday, the Forum Fisheries Agency opened its four-day briefing Monday in Honolulu for fisheries officials in preparation for the upcoming Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission annual meeting.

At the opening session for officials from the 17 member Pacific islands, FFA Director General Manu Tupou-Roosen welcomed PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru and PNA Office staff participation in briefing session.

“The PNA officials session Sunday and this week’s FFA briefing is an important part of our commitment to ensuring sustainable management of the fishery in the Pacific,” said PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru. He recognized Dr. Tupou-Roosen for ongoing collaboration between the FFA and PNA on the wide-array of fisheries management issues on which Pacific islands are engaged.

Mr. Kumoru made the point that these briefing sessions are essential for fisheries officials from the islands to effectively advocate for measures promoting sustainable management of fish stocks at the WCPFC. Mr. Kumoru noted, too, that the briefing sessions provide for discussion of the layers of detail that go into developing proposals and positions for “best practice” governance in the fishery.

“The FFA Director General reminded us that we are doing this work for the benefit of our people,” said Mr. Kumoru. “We are the resource owners. This is why we work together to promote effective measures at the WCPFC for sustainable management of our fisheries resources.”

Mr. Kumoru emphasized that ensuring tuna stocks remain healthy for the long term is the highest priority of the islands. This requires ongoing and effective conservation measures on both the high seas and in the exclusive economic zones of the islands, he said. “This is why the PNA and the FFA put so much effort into preparing for the WCPFC,” said Mr. Kumoru.

While zone-based management has been effective in maintaining purse seine fishing at sustainable levels, there continue to be challenges with the management of the longline sector, including on the high seas that need to be addressed by the WCPFC to ensure sustainable management of all tuna stocks, he said.

“There are many management issues we are working through this week in preparation for next week’s WCPFC annual meeting,” Mr. Kumoru said. “PNA members are part of the FFA membership. PNA may emphasize some issues over others, but we are on the same page with the FFA going into the WCPFC.”
The WCPFC annual meeting opens Monday December 10 and continues through Friday December 14 at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu.

NOTE:

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) are eight Pacific Island countries that control the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery supplying 50 percent of the world’s skipjack tuna (a popular tuna for canned products). The eight members are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. Tokelau is a participating partner in implementing the Vessel Day Scheme together with the eight member nations.

PNA has been a champion for marine conservation and management, taking unilateral action to conserve overfished bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including closures of high seas pockets, seasonal bans on use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), satellite tracking of boats, in port transshipment, 100 percent observer coverage of purse seiners, closed areas for conservation, mesh size regulations, tuna catch retention requirements, hard limits on fishing effort, prohibitions against targeting whale sharks, shark action plans, and other conservation measures to protect the marine ecosystem.

For more information, contact Mr. Ludwig Kumoru, CEO, PNA Office, on email: ludwig@pnatuna.com, or ring PNA media coordinator Giff Johnson at (808) 699-1690 to arrange interviews with the PNA CEO.

FFA backs stronger tuna management at Tuna Commission next week

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The 17 members of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) will again be advocating strongly for strengthened Conservation and Management Measures (CMM’s) at next week’s 15th session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meetings to be held in Honolulu from 9-14 December.

Specifically, the FFA will be pushing to advance several priority measures including the Tropical Tuna Measure and adoption of a Target Reference Point (TRP) for the South Pacific Albacore tuna stock.

“Sustained implementation of effective rights-based management by Pacific Islands countries over many years have been instrumental in the sustainable development of our region’s offshore tuna stocks,” said Tepaeru Herrmann, current Chair of Officials of the Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC).

“Our collective management of the region’s tuna stocks over many years has promoted sustainability, increased revenues and employment and helped to actively reduce illegal fishing but we cannot be complacent about future sustainability nor ignore the need for improved management of high seas activity in our region.”

Tropical Tuna and South Pacific albacore

High on the list for the FFA is the Tropical Tuna Measure – the flagship management instrument of the Commission which is intended to guarantee the long-term health of the bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna stocks upon which many Pacific Island economies depend.  FFA members are concerned to ensure that the measure is not weakened by pressure from major fishing nations to increase their share of the catch. “The recent upwards re-evaluation of bigeye tuna stock is no reason to be complacent about future sustainability” stated Matt Hooper, the Deputy Director General of the FFA.

WCPFC has also committed to adopt a Target Reference Point (TRP) for the South Pacific Albacore tuna stock at this year’s meeting.  FFA members are determined that WCPFC needs to follow through on this to help bring the fishery back into economic health. “For the past three years this matter has been deferred under pressure from distant water interests in the southern longline fishery” observed Mr Hooper, “We need to agree the TRP at this Commission meeting as a basis for improved management of this important fishery.”

FFA members met prior to the the Tuna Commission meeting next week to identify priorities

Improved Compliance with Agreed measures

The WCPFC Compliance Monitoring Scheme (CMS) is an audit-like process where all members sit as a panel to review compliance by each of them with the agreed rules.

FFA Director General Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen recalled “FFA members have consistently generated the majority of substantive conservation and management proposals within the WCPFC during its 15 years of existence.  FFA members remain committed to a CMS that is effective, efficient, fair and helps promote and improve compliance.”

FFA will be advocating for the CMS process to be streamlined and focus on ensuring compliance by members with WCPFC measures rather than getting embroiled in the detail of individual vessel level infringements which are dealt with elsewhere in the WCPFC’s processes.

FFA Senior Officials are currently meeting in Honolulu in preparation for next week’s Commission meetings, supported by the FFA Secretariat and the Office of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNAO).  The FFA will also meet with various delegation’s from Distant Water Fishing Nation’s (DWFN) this week who are also members of the WCPFC as part of building understanding of the issues and working towards consensus.

Background

While FFA member waters cover most of the fishable range of the tropical tuna stocks, the FFA members cannot fully conserve and manage these resources through their own zone-based actions. The annual WCPFC meeting is key to the collective management of fishing for tuna stocks in the whole Western and Central Pacific fishery and for agreeing limits on the exploitation of stocks, particularly in the high seas areas beyond the jurisdiction of FFA members. The Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) will convene in Honolulu the week before the main WCPFC meeting scheduled for 9-14 December to agree its approach to key WCPFC agenda items. Full collaboration and regional solidarity among FFA members, including the PNA member countries who manage the purse seine Vessel Day Scheme, is a key feature of this endeavour.

For further Information contact FFA Deputy Director General Matt Hooper at matt.hoopoer@ffa.int

Parties to Nauru Agreement prepare for Tuna Commission meeting

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Honolulu 2 December 2018 — Tuna resource owners from the Pacific islands met Sunday as part of internal preparation for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting from December 10-14 in Honolulu.

Officials from the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) met Sunday in Honolulu on their new five-year draft strategic plan, an electronic monitoring proposal focused on the longline fishing industry, budget plans for next year, and regional fisheries issues for the upcoming WCPFC annual meeting. The PNA officials meeting was chaired by Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority Director Charleston Deiye. A PNA fisheries ministers’ meeting this coming Friday in Honolulu will review the draft strategic plan, budget and other matters along with other WCPFC-related issues for policy consideration by government leaders from the eight PNA nations.

The PNA manages the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery supplying 50 percent of the global supply of skipjack tuna, which is mainly used for canned tuna.

Although there are dozens of fisheries management issues on the WCPFC’s agenda, PNA officials focused largely on two key issues: nations seeking to expand membership in the WCPFC and the existing tropical tuna measure governing fishing that expires at the end of 2018. PNA officials reiterated their position against admitting more countries to full membership, pointing out that “cooperating non-members” and “observers” can participate in the work of the Commission.

The current tropical tuna measure, approved by the WCPFC one year ago, was described as “a well-balanced” measure that should be extended. PNA officials support the stance that the existing measure should not be weakened in any way to maintain the sustainability of tuna stocks. These and other PNA positions for the WCPFC will go for endorsement to PNA ministers this Friday in Honolulu.
PNA is also moving toward adoption of a new five-year strategic plan to guide its work, including addressing climate change impacts on the fishery.

“The new strategic plan is essential to the ongoing improvement and expansion of sustainable fisheries management and commercial opportunities for our islands,” said PNA Chief Executive Officer Ludwig Kumoru. The new draft plan has been developed through a series of consultations the members during 2018, he said, adding that the five-year plan is moving to its final draft stage for presentation to government fisheries ministers for review and action.

The new strategic plan and focus on strengthening the PNA Office operation is essential to effective management of the tuna fishery in PNA waters, said Mr. Kumoru.

The draft presented to the PNA officials meeting Sunday in Honolulu will see PNA focus in three areas:
• Internal strengthening of the PNA Office, headquartered in Majuro, and improved alignment of various fisheries management programs now overseen by PNA and its members.
• Maintain and expand its influence in sustainably managing the tropical tuna fishery in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including expansion of fish aggregating device (FAD) monitoring and electronic monitoring of fishing vessels and tuna catches, and ongoing management of the vessel day scheme that governs the purse seine fishery in the region — and has led to revenues for PNA members growing from $60 million annually in 2010 to close to half a billion dollars in 2017.
• Managing commercial and economic development opportunities in the tuna fishery at the regional and domestic levels for PNA.

A key point coming out of the PNA discussion is the importance of the organization’s Fisheries Information Management Systems (FIMS) that underpins PNA’s decision-making and management of the fishery.

The aim of the new strategic plan is to continue PNA’s unique ability to act quickly to implement programs in the fishery, said PNA consultant Wez Norris, who is assisting the development of the plan. “The aim is to maintain the flexibility of PNA, while providing better clarity for everyone’s roles and to strengthen the decision-making process,” Mr. Norris said.

The results of Sunday’s meetings will go to fisheries ministers Friday for review and endorsement.

Note to editors:

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) are eight Pacific Island countries that control the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery supplying 50 percent of the world’s skipjack tuna (a popular tuna for canned products). The eight members are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. Tokelau is a participating partner in implementing the Vessel Day Scheme together with the eight member nations.

PNA has been a champion for marine conservation and management, taking unilateral action to conserve overfished bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including closures of high seas pockets, seasonal bans on use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), satellite tracking of boats, in port transshipment, 100 percent observer coverage of purse seiners, closed areas for conservation, mesh size regulations, tuna catch retention requirements, hard limits on fishing effort, prohibitions against targeting whale sharks, shark action plans, and other conservation measures to protect the marine ecosystem.

For more information, contact Mr. Ludwig Kumoru, CEO, PNA Office, on email: ludwig@pnatuna.com.

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