The European Union says its new funding agreement with marine agencies in the Pacific will help prevent fish laundering in the region.
The EU, along with Sweden, has pledged $US52 million to working with the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Pacific Community, the Regional Environment Programme and the University of the South Pacific over the next five years.
Christopher Wagner of the EU delegation for the Pacific said illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is theft and tighter rules are essential.
Mr Wagner said much of the fish caught in Pacific waters is transferred from one ship to another and up to eighty percent of it is processed in Asian countries.
“What we are supporting through this programme is to develop new technologies and monitoring, for example drones, we are also working through the FFA (Forum Fisheries Association) with the countries to look more at trans-shipments. For example many of these days, you know that term money laundering, and there’s also something called fish laundering,” Christopher Wagner said.
Mr Wagner said some of the funding will go towards better regulation of illegal catches passing through Pacific ports, with more prosecutions and higher fines.
He said coastal fisheries management, marine science and biodiversity projects will also receive a boost from the funding which was announced at last week’s Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Nauru.
Four key regional agencies have signed a deal with the European Union to help promote sustainable management and sound ocean governance in the Pacific.
The agencies, the Forum Fisheries Agency, the Pacific Community, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and the University of the South Pacific, have signed the deal this week in Nauru.
Called, the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme, it will address, among other things, the depletion of fish resources and the threat to marine biodiversity, including climate change and disasters.
EU representative Jean-Louis Ville said there was an urgent need to act.
“We trust that we are now at the right time to form a joint alliance and coalition on issues related to international ocean governance for which the Pacific European programme will form a very solid foundation,” he said.
The five year programme is funded by the European Union providing $US40.5 million ($NZ61.8 million) and the government of Sweden $US11.6m ($NZ17.7m).
It will be used to support regional and national level activities in the Pacific.
US extends military spending in Pacific
The United States said it planned to give $US7m in military spending to Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga.
Speaking in Nauru, US Secretary for Interior Ryan Zinke said the money would support training equipment and other security co-operation priorities identified by these Pacific nations.
In addition, the US will provide $US750,000 a year in international military exercise and training to PNG, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to support training for military and police forces.
The US will also assist PNG with harbour security during APEC in Port Moresby in November.
It is part of the $US290m commitment by the US to support foreign militaries in the Indo-Pacific region.
Following concerns raised by the Pacific Islands Forum last year, the US offered to support Pacific Islands countries implement the United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea.
Australia offers new assistance to Nauru
Australia has announced new assistance to Nauru to help fight disease, empower women and support next year’s elections.
Canberra’s providing an extra $US1.01m to help fight non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Another $US720,000 will go towards supporting women’s empowerment over the next three years.
Nearly half a million will go towards building up the Nauru Electoral Office in a programme which New Zealand is also funding.
Australia said the plan was to create a better-informed electorate and implement more transparent and inclusive electoral processes.
The extra assistance was announced on the sidelines of the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Nauru.
All up, Australia’s planning to spend more than $US18.6m to support Nauru in the coming year.
New Zealand and Japan are to work together to ensure the success of the Pacific Climate Change Centre in Samoa.
New Zealand foreign minister Winston Peters says New Zealand is committed to supporting climate change action across the Pacific and it sees the Pacific Climate Change Centre as a key regional institution.
He says the Climate Change Centre will help Pacific nations combat the impacts of climate change over the coming decades.
The centre is already under construction at the Apia campus of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Environment Programme in Apia and expected to open in the middle of next year.
Mr Peters says New Zealand is putting up US$1.96 million dollars for the centre.
Forum Fisheries Ministers announced the appointment of the incoming Director General of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, at the conclusion of the 15th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial meeting which was held in the Cook Islands on 3-5 July and chaired by Cook Islands Prime Minister and Minister of Marine Resources, Honourable Henry Puna.
“We are delighted to announce Dr Tupou-Roosen as the new Director General of FFA. She is very committed to the FFA’s role as a facilitator of regional cooperation on fisheries management within the Pacific region and has excellent strategies for leading the FFA into the next decade as it helps members develop their offshore fisheries,” Honourable Puna said.
He added that “The best thing about it all is that the decision was by unanimous agreement of all of the Fisheries Ministers.”
Responding to her appointment, Dr Tupou-Roosen, who is currently head of the FFA Legal Services, said: “I am very humbled to be chosen as the incoming Director General and sincerely thank our Members for this great honour.”
“I very much look forward to working with Deputy Director-General Matt Hooper and all of our staff to serve our Members. We have a clear mission to ensure the sustainable use of our offshore fishery resources increases the economic and social benefits for all our Pacific people and I am committed to following through on that mission.”
“I see Empowerment, Communication and Collaboration as critical tools to ensuring successful Cooperation and to ensuring our Pacific people prosper. Strengthening our mechanisms to combat IUU fishing and enhancing social benefits will also be top of mind for me. I will be making these a priority when I take up the role.”
The selection process for the Director General was extensive and ran over a twelve-month period. Dr Tupou-Roosen will take up her new position in mid-November 2018, replacing Mr James Movick, who has held the role since 2008.
Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen
Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen has worked for nearly 20 years in the area of fisheries, including 13 years as the FFA Legal Counsel. In this role she has been responsible for providing legal and strategic advice to the Director General on significant Agency-wide issues.
Dr Tupou-Roosen gained a Masters of Law in 1997 under a NZ scholarship with a focus on International Fisheries and achieved First Class Honours. She also gained a PhD in Law in 2004 under a Commonwealth Scholarship, with a focus on International and Regional Fisheries Compliance.
In pursuing her education, Dr Tupou-Roosen was always intent on returning and serving in the area of fisheries in our region.
In her role as Legal Counsel of the FFA, Dr Tupou-Roosen had a long list of achievements, including:
Leading the drafting group on the revised texts of the US Tuna Treaty and its related instruments during the negotiations from 2009-2016;
Driving the successful implementation of the multilateral Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement at regional and national levels, including securing funds to support implementation at the regional level through an in-house legal advisor position for this specific work, and for in-country work at the national level;
Initiating innovative ways of dealing with issues, such as developing a strategy to broaden the Agency’s approach to addressing IUU fishing from a vessel-focus to include profiling the actual IUU fishers (Persons of Interest), which has been supported by Members;
Directing the revision of the Harmonised Minimum Terms and Conditions (MTCs) for the safety of observers, and led Secretariat support to Members in the lead-up to adoption of the Observer Safety measure by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission;
Initiating the comprehensive review of the MTCs in 2013 and 2014 and re-established its role as a strategic tool to set leading in-zone standards to drive compatible measures for the high seas;
Forging an effective partnership with SPC to deliver legislative reviews and maritime boundaries solutions;
Initiating the Legal Graduate Programme to ensure that nationals of FFA member countries are exposed to, and interested in, fisheries at an early stage in their careers.
In a move to enhance tuna fisheries management in the Pacific, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) committed NZD 4.9million to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) yesterday.
This funding will be used by FFA to support a project that will establish and enhance catch documentation schemes (CDS) for FFA members over the next five years. The new Grant Funding Agreement was signed by Fletcher Tabuteau, Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs, New Zealand and FFA Deputy Director General, Matthew Hooper.
“FFA Members work collectively to effectively manage their Pacific tuna fisheries, and this project will support members to access high value export markets while tackling illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing” said Mr Hooper on accepting the funding support.
The project aims to ensure FFA’s Pacific Island members maintain market access for their fishery products, by improving traceability along supply chains through the integration of fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance systems, the implementation of electronic reporting and the development of technological solutions to strengthen national capacity.
The project provides support for the development of national and regional CDS frameworks, national regulatory and policy frameworks and the development of CDS tools and associated training and capacity building.
The agreement follows almost two years of preparation and builds on work being undertaken to strengthen port state measures in the Pacific and complementing the existing comprehensive regional monitoring, control and surveillance framework implemented by FFA members.
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
FFA was established to help their 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
In the context of the programming directions for International Waters in the GEF, the project makes significant contributions to FFA activities in support of both the blue economy and improving the management of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ).
Cooperation in the management of tuna fisheries by Pacific Island countries is a direct application of the principles of the blue economy. This concept aims to promote economic growth, social inclusion, and the preservation and improvement of livelihoods while at the same time ensuring environmental sustainability of the oceans. It is closely linked with Sustainable Development Goal 14, specifically 14.4 and 14.7.
The Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) tuna fishery is the largest tuna fishery in the world and the 2.7 million ton annual WCPO tuna catch accounts for sixty percent of global production with sixty percent of this catch coming from the waters of FFA Members. Tuna fisheries are a key resource for all Pacific Island countries – for many the only renewable economic resource. The WCPO is the only tuna fishery on the planet in which all four target stocks are currently rated as sustainably fished with no overfishing occurring.
The Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) is a fisheries management system that establishes rights in the shared fishery for coastal state and has been driven by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), a sub-regional grouping of FFA member countries. The consolidation of VDS which allows members to sell the rights to purse seine fishing days in their waters has seen SIDS revenues from the purse seine fishery increase from from 220 million in 2012 to 480 million in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of government revenue in five member SIDS and supporting 25,000 jobs in FFA Member countries in 2017. Of those employed in the processing sector 80% are women.
The Regional Fisheries Surveillance Programme is a unique collaboration between the members of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) to address illegal, unreported and unregistered (IUU) fishing in support of SDG 14.4. A range of regionally agreed systems and tools and best practice technology applications provide a high level of monitoring, control and surveillance and the agency is active in a range of activities supporting IUU mitigation such as the implementation of electronic monitoring and reporting systems on WCPO vessels.
In terms of activities supporting improved management of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), the OFMP2 project supports the annual FFA Management Options Consultation (MOC) meeting in which FFA Members Countries actively participate in WCPFC decision making and includes the improved management of ABNJ. MOC processes have provided the opportunity for supporting the adoption of high seas Special Management Areas and promoting strengthened catch and effort limits on the WCPFC high seas for tropical tuna fisheries, as well as an allocation process that will take account of the WCPFC Convention’s recognition of the special requirements of SIDS.
OFMP2 has also assisted PNA countries to develop the capacity to implement their prohibition on PNA-licenced purse-seiners from fishing in the two western high seas pockets.
Wider FFA promoted and supported measures such as FAD closures, 100% observer coverage in the purse seine fishery and coordinated approaches to high seas boarding and inspection activities also support more effective management of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction.
The GEF OFMP II is a key contributor to the success of the blue economy in the WCPO.
This story provides an illustration of how GEF IW projects are already addressing themes in the new GEF IW strategy for the 7th GEF Replenishment. In this case the story highlights how projects can address Objective 1. Strengthening Blue Economy opportunities. In GEF-7, investments will be strengthening nations Blue Economy opportunities, through three areas of strategic action: 1) sustaining healthy coastal and marine ecosystems; 2) catalyzing sustainable fisheries management; and, 3) addressing pollution reduction in marine environments.
The Forum Fisheries Agency says the Pacific is facing big challenges as it embraces digital technology.
A systems analyst for the agency said that in the fisheries sector, work to digitise information was ongoing and labour intensive.
Ano Tisam said many organisations and governments in the region still used pen and paper.
He said to move ahead, information needed to be accessible in a digital format and properly stored and archived.
“We used technology to help Pacific governments to move away from what they are doing in terms of paper, and transitioning them over to digital technologies so that they can improve the way that they do things to make things more efficient and more effective.”
Ano Tisam was visiting New Zealand from Solomon Islands as a guest speaker at last week’s Pacific Tech Summit in Auckland.
Peter Cusack, Regional Coordinator – Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program
Honiara, Solomon Islands 13-15 February 2018. Lamine Camara, Director of Fisheries for Mauritania, was the first representative from Mauritania to visit the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in Honiara, Solomon Islands when he arrived in February this year. Joining him on the occasion were an additional 20 international delegates who all gathered at the FFA premises to participate in a Pacific – Global Zone-based Tuna Fisheries Management Exchange. The Exchange was hosted by FFA to provide an opportunity for representatives of developing coastal States from around the globe with an interest in tuna fisheries to visit the Pacific and learn first-hand of the successes and challenges in tuna fisheries management encountered in the Pacific Ocean.
Over the course of the three-day event, participants examined and discussed the “Pacific model” for fisheries cooperation. There was a focus on how zone-based management arrangements have been introduced in the FFA region and used to gain control of the fishery by coastal states, thereby reaping substantially increased benefits. FFA staff and resource people from the Office of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and the Pacific Community described the long history of cooperation, the key outputs (programs and platforms for cooperation) and the main outcomes (social, economic and environmental benefits) that have been achieved in the FFA region.
A total of twenty-one delegates participated in the exchange, including representatives from national and regional fisheries agencies and fisheries programs in Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Tanzania, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, as well as representatives from the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International.
The Exchange was part of FFA’s ongoing program that seeks mutual benefits from greater collaboration with developing coastal States around the world. Mutual benefits that accrued from the Exchange and are expected to expand in the future included:
for other developing coastal States – a working example of cooperation in fisheries management, development and enforcement and the ability to leverage lessons learned through trial and error here;
for FFA members – a greater appreciation around the globe of the zone-based cooperative model employed by FFA. This is growing more important as oceans and fisheries related issues gain more prominence on the global agenda. This greater understanding benefits FFA members because it should lead to better support for FFA positions and approaches from other coastal States around the world; and
for all parties – gaining different perspectives about how to deal with similar issues in the management of highly migratory fish stocks.
It was noted that many of the ‘lessons learned’ from the Exchange does not only apply to tuna fisheries, but also to other cross boundary demersal stocks, and for the introduction and use of monitoring, control and surveillance technologies.
In welcoming the participants and opening the Exchange FFA Director- General, Mr James Movick provided an overview of regional tuna fisheries management in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) and described the concept of “Zone-based Management” and how the Pacific small Island developing states (SIDS) have implemented it.
In his remarks, Mr Movick said that the region is “more strongly asserting our rights in what used to be a completely distant-water flag-state fishery. Pacific nations have given themselves a much bigger bite of revenues from the global tuna sandwich. We want to share this knowledge to assess what lessons are transferable to other developing regions – and learn from the unique experiences that others bring to our table.”
He also said that the importance of tuna to Pacific SIDS is illustrated by fisheries revenues making up more than 40% of public revenue in five countries, providing 25,000 jobs in the region and contributing to food security and development opportunities. At the global scale the 2016 WCPO tuna catch of 2.6 million tonnes represented around 60% of the global tuna catch and was worth $5.2 billion. In turn, around 60% of this WCPO catch is from FFA waters.
Tuna provide substantial economic opportunities for FFA members, including the contribution to DP through access fees, domestic fleet development, onshore processing jobs and export income, but today only 30% of fish caught in members’ exclusive economic zones is being taken by local fleets and only 10% is landed for processing.
Mr Ludwig Kumoru, CEO of the PNA shared how the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) has been a “game-changer in the sustainable management of tuna resources.” He continued saying, “The VDS put a cap on the number of days that fishing vessels can operate in our waters, and steadily ramped up the cost of access so that the PNA members receive a fairer share of revenues. Before the VDS came into being there was no proper valuation placed on the fishery and we were at the mercy of foreign interests. That has all changed.”
The OPP is one of the four Projects of the GEF-funded Common Oceans ABNJ Program that, under the World Bank lead, is supporting public and private sector investment in better managed fisheries targeting migratory stocks that straddle developing countries’ coastal jurisdictions and areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).
For more information about the Pacific-Global Zone-based Tuna Fisheries Management Knowledge Exchange, please contact:
Peter Cusack, Regional Coordinator – Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Forum Fisheries Agency’s deputy director general Wez Norris says there’s huge potential in the new digital technology being piloted to track fish.
But Mr Norris said if the blockchain system was going to work on a fishery-wide basis, it would need commitment and collaboration from companies and governments in dozens of countries.
The system is on trial in Fiji to monitor tuna from the moment a fish is caught up until it’s bought for consumption.
It’s hoped the technology will help ensure more accountability on a global scale and combat illegal fishing practises, but Mr Norris said fish tracking is complex.
“A fish that might be caught in Solomon Islands might be transported to Fiji and it might be transported there and then marketed through a company in Singapore and then eventually end up in the US, and so all of those players need to be part of this system. It is going to take quite some time to build that level of trust and commitment.”
Wez Norris will vacate the Solomon Islands-based FFA director general role this week.
The 26 nations that govern the world’s biggest fishery left it to the last minute to agree to new rules for three economically crucial tropical tuna species – skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye.
PacNews reports the adoption of a new tropical tuna Bridging Measure at three o’clock in the morning on the last day of the meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission was greeted with applause after days of gruelling negotiations.
It is being hailed as a success for Commission Chair Rhea Moss-Christian.
Other measures approved by the Commission include action to address plastic marine pollution and to boost the capacity of Pacific nations to step up the fight against illegal fishing with more vessel inspections in their ports.
The meeting failed to reach agreement on measures for albacore tuna, proposed by Pacific countries, but did agree to prioritise albacore at next year’s meeting.
The Tropical Tuna Measure, which regulates a catch worth $US4.5 billion, is a three-year agreement.
It is designed to ensure skipjack, bigeye and yellowfin tuna stocks are maintained at recent average levels and capable of producing maximum sustainable yield.
“For this Commission to come away from this meeting without having a measure in place would have been a disgrace,” Rhea Moss-Christian told journalists after the decision.
Many distant water nations played a role in the final outcome but Ms Moss-Christian and the Forum Fisheries Agency highlighted the role of Japan, in particular.