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

Gender, human rights and sustainable resource management important aspects of significant Pacific-EU Marine Partnership Programme

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Republished from Pacific Community, 26 March 2019

The recent Pacific Community (SPC) 11th Heads of Fisheries meeting held in Noumea, New Caledonia from 11-13 March 2019 has been briefed on a large marine partnership initiative to improve economic, social and environmental benefits for Pacific states.

The €45Million Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme jointly funded by the European Union (EU) (€35Million) and Sweden (€10 Million), is a multi-partner project which promotes stronger regional economic integration and the sustainable management of natural resources and the environment in the Pacific region.

The PEUMP programme addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by the region such as the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources; threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters; the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training in the sector; and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and promote greater recognition of gender issues within the sector.   

It focuses on six key areas targeting gaps in fisheries science; fisheries development; coastal resources and livelihoods; Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing; ecosystem-based management; biodiversity conservation; and capacity building at national and community levels.

Head of Cooperation at the EU Delegation for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner reaffirmed the role of the EU as a reliable and close partner of the Pacific and said: ”The Pacific–European Union Marine Partnership Programme supports the sustainable management of fisheries, food security and blue growth in the Pacific region, in line with the Regional Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries. The oceans are a life force that sustains our planet and every person on it. Therefore it is so important to join up in the Pacific and set an example on how to manage marine resources more sustainably.”

Speaking on behalf of Sweden, Åsa Hedén, Head of Development Cooperation, Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific said: “Following the New York Ocean conference co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden in 2017, Sweden presented its largest national budget for supporting environment, ocean and climate initiatives. In this commitment, we recognise the PEUMP programme as a unique intervention with its multi-sectoral approach with different stakeholders at regional, national and local levels working towards sustainable management of the Ocean. As a co-financier, we are pleased to be part of this initiative. It is evident that the PEUMP programme has taken on a serious people-centred approach to promote direct opportunities and positive changes for the people of the Pacific Islands, targeting women, men, youth and vulnerable groups.”

The SPC is leading implementation of the multi-partner programme which is working in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), Tuvalu, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Vanuatu.

SPC’s Director General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga said: “As the largest region on Earth and with climate change being more widely recognised as an immediate and pressing priority, the Pacific region will quickly become a hub for international climate change research and a focus for debates around conservation and resource management. The Blue Pacific narrative will ensure that our region has a leading, independent and united voice on these issues. The PEUMP partnership will provide further support to help ensure that, as stewards of the Pacific, we are working collaboratively to manage and preserve our ocean resources to ensure a sustainable future.”

The SPC is working in partnership with the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) to implement the PEUMP over the next five years. Each agency with be working with a number of implementing partners such as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) network, Pacific Island Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Division Fisheries, Aquaculture & Marine Ecosystems

CountriesVanuatuSolomon IslandsSamoaTongaTuvaluMarshall IslandsPapua New GuineaPalauNiueNauruKiribatiFederated States of MicronesiaFijiCook Islands

Pacific urged to stop Japan’s nuclear waste plans

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Republished from Radio New Zealand, 29 January 2019

Environmentalists want to stop Japan’s plans to discharge what they say is more than a million tonnes of highly contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.

The Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Credit: supplied to Radio New Zealand

A Greenpeace nuclear specialist, Shaun Burnie, said a nuclear water crisis at the Fukushima Plant had been worsened by technical failures.

He said flawed decision-making behind the plans was driven by cost-cutting from the government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company.

Mr Burnie called on Pacific countries to stop Japan’s plans, given the need to protect the environment, regional communities and the fishing industry.

“Any nation that requires or is active in the Pacific on environmental issues, whether it’s economic, whether it’s fisheries.

“We’ve done so much damage to our oceans – from climate change, from nuclear weapons testing by France and the United States.

“The Japanese Government can make a decision in managing this waste without threatening the environment.

“And if they hear voices from around the Pacific saying that it’s not acceptable, that certainly can have an effect.”

Dr Tanaka Noriko from the Japanese Embassy in Wellington denied the Greenpeace report.

He said tests carried out on the nuclear water last year had shown a value below the detection rate.

But Greenpeace maintains the government and TEPCO must reassess their options for the long-term management of the highly contaminated water at Fukushima.

Mr Burnie said “the only viable option is the long-term storage of this water in robust steel tanks over at least the next century, and the parallel development of water processing technology”.

He said the government and TEPCO had set an objective of “solving” the radioactive water crisis by 2020, which was never credible.

Nuclear specialist, Shaun Burnie, Greenpeace Germany, north of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, with plant in background. Greenpeace. Credit: Photo supplied to Radio New Zealand

“TEPCO has finally admitted that its technology has failed to reduce levels of strontium, and other hazardous radioactivity, to below regulatory limits.

“Discharging into the Pacific is the worst option and must be ruled out.

“We have raised the water crisis with the UN International Maritime Organization and firmly stand with local communities, especially fisheries, who are strongly opposed to any plans to discharge contaminated water into their fishing grounds,” said Mr Burnie.