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 | email@example.com
THE Solomon Islands government has earned a record $399 million Solomon Island Dollar (SBD) from its tuna resources in 2017, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) in Honiara has revealed. This is around $51 million US dollars.
The fishing industry now offers hope for the country, behind the logging industry, which earns more but is slowly decreasing in its revenue.
Ministry’s Under-Secretary (Technical) Ferral Lasi said offshore fisheries remain the largest income-generating sector and this is from tuna alone, which accounts for almost 90 per cent of the revenues.
He said it’s a trend he believes could take the lead in a country that has heavily relied on logging for the last two decades.
“Tuna is soon to take up the lead, as it continues to show a massive increase in revenue compared to the past.
“This positive trend shows the improvement in management of the country’s ocean resources and, most importantly, the collective efforts from neighbouring countries in the region to pursue a common objective to manage tuna,” Mr Lasi said.
He added that the species of tuna caught in the Solomon waters worth millions of dollars are albacore, yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack – the four main species of interest in the world market.
“The wealth of any island nation in the Pacific lies in the massive area of waters surrounding their archipelagos, and that is measured 200 nautical miles from the shoreline, known as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).”
Like other island countries, the ocean bounded under the sovereignty of Solomon Islands is many times larger than the land mass of the country itself, hence the responsibility to care and protect the EEZ is a challenge.
Mr Lasi’s revelation that $339 million collected from revenues in fisheries by the government is a well-deserved acknowledgement for the hardworking staff in the MFMR.
He dubbed logging in the country as a ‘sunset industry’.
“The fishing industry remains the most promising industry that keeps the government optimistic for the future.”
He said once other marine species are managed well to benefit the local people and enable them to participate in commercial activities, more revenue will pour into the country without heavy reliance on tuna.
He said an example of this is bech-de-mer (sea cucumber), which is a valuable marine species but not abundant like tuna.
Mr Lasi stressed that once the right policies are put in place by the government to help local people, the management and commercialization of sea cucumber will definitely boost the economy and enrich the indigenous people.
“There are many marine resources inside our coastal waters and the ocean that should be enough to sustain our livelihood and support our government to commit in its service delivery.”
Mr Lasi further stated that more work is being carried out by MFMR to gauge the maximum benefit Solomon Islands can acquire from its ocean resources, though sustainable management.
There may be several more millions generated from other marine products.
But the question is, how much of that money actually ends up in the hands of Solomon Islanders?
This is a hard question to answer.
But it’s a question worth answering if Solomon Islanders are to quantify the benefits they are deriving from their own marine resources.
Former chief executive officer of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and the country’s very own fisheries law expert, Dr Transform Aqorau, once said that the Solomon Islands should be earning more from its tuna than what it is earning now.
But for the nation to earn maximum benefits from its marine resources, resource owners must be considered and included in all facets of policy and decision-making.
Right now, most of the big players in the industry are outsiders. Solomon Islanders are still missing out.
Whilst the fisheries industry holds much hope for the country, authorities need to ensure resource owners get maximum benefit from their resources.
THE Tokelau Arrangement – an agreement which aims to get Pacific nations working together to manage albacore tuna stocks – is not the right approach for the country, says Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resource (MFMR) Ferral Lasi.
Solomon Islands has the biggest albacore fishery of any Pacific nation but confirmed recently it has has withdrawn from the Arrangement.
Speaking to journalists covering the 14th Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC14) in Manila, Mr Lasi said the reason for the withdrawal is based on what is best for the country.
He explained that although Solomon Islands had been assured that its catch allocation under the Arrangement would be based on its historical catch, this did not appear to be the case once the models are run.
“We can see consistently that our allocation has gone down. And so, we decided the best is for us to withdraw, we don’t want to be constrained, because we also have our localization policy, to have our own fleet.
“We are also using the Longline VDS system, which is in conflict with the catch-base system that the Tokelau Arrangement is proposing.
“So that is the reason why we pulled out,” Mr Lasi explained, during a press conference yesterday.
He added, the strengthening of the local Solomon Islands fisheries is part of the country’s policy for the future.
“Based on the longline VDS, we want to ring fence and get more control, …and we see the Arrangement as standing in the way, constraining our policy.
“The Tokelau Arrangement only caters for certain members of FFA. Not all the members are part of the agreement,” the HOD for the Solomon Islands delegation said.
When asked if the move will affect the Pacific Solidarity in the Tuna industry, Mr Lasi said the country did not see this as something that will affect the pacific solidarity, but as an opportunity to breakout and regroup and to form a better Arrangement.
However, the Pacific Islands Tuna Industries Association (PITIA) was dismayed by the news on the country’s withdrawal.
“… actually it was disappointing for the industry, it was disappointing probably for the Pacific island region as well,” John Maefiti, Executive Officer of the Honiara based Tuna Industries Association, told the media
“We should sit down at the table and discuss our differences and look at ways to go forward.
“We just have to show the world that we are together in this and we should fight together in this and not try to show them our weak points by showing our differences in this type of initiative.” Mr Maefiti said.
THE Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) says it was very unfortunate that the Solomon Islands has pulled out from the agreement, which now signals possible changes for the future of the albacore fishery.
FFA’s Deputy Director General, Wez Norris, told journalists in Manila it was unfortunate that Solomon Islands made the decision at the time that they did.
“What we were very much hoping to achieve, was to finalize the negotiations of the (Tokelau Arrangement) catch management agreement, which we were very close to doing and then allow each country to consider it as a whole complete package and decide whether their interested to participate or not,” Norris explained.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the opportunity to cross that final line, …this only happened at the beginning of November and we and the other countries and the Solomon Islands haven’t really had the opportunity to .. get our breath back after all of that push, and work out where we stand and what we’re going to do next for the collective management for the Albacore fishery.
“Solomon’s in the past has been one of the largest albacore producers from its EEZ and so therefore we can understand the strong need to protect their own interests,” said Mr Norris.
However, the DDG said the Solomon Islands has the most to gain from a sustainable albacore fishery and they also have the most to lose from an unsustainable albacore fishery.
“So the FFA will continue to work with them and see where they can come along.
Mr Norris moved on to explain that, he thinks what their Solomon Islands decision making follows on from an earlier decision from Cook Islands to also withdraw.
“I think what that shows us is that we need to take a step backwards and work out sort of see what lessons we can learn from the process that we’ve just been through and then see on how we can get a sort of better design a future process that will give everyone the assurances that they need, Mr Norris said.
“I’m actually confident that, had we finished the negotiation of this, then we would have been able to make a case to all of the albacore countries as to why it was in their interest.
“But as I say, there’s certainly some lessons we can learn about what happened and why before we go back the negotiation way,” the Deputy Director General, who will soon leave the FFA said.
Dec 4, WCPFC14, Manila— SOLOMON Islands has pulled out from a key tuna deal called the Tokelau Arrangement, citing it as a danger for the country and its catch allocation in the future.
The Tokelau Arrangement is an agreement amongst Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) member countries, to limit the catch of southern albacore tuna in their EEZ waters.
The aim is to restore profitability and sustainability to the fishery but the arrangement will only work if all countries in the albacore fishery take part.
Solomon Islands is part of the arrangement, which was signed during the 11th annual session of the Western Central Pacific Commission (WCPFC) held in Samoa, in 2014.
The Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Ferral Lasi has confirmed the country’s withdrawal from the agreement.
“Yes, we have pulled out because it has the potential to sharply constrain our catch allocation in the future.
“We have our policy to develop our own long-line fishery in the future and this agreement could stand in the way, constraining our catch limit,” Mr Lasi, who is also the Head of Delegation (HOD) for the Solomon Islands, in the 14th Tuna Commission meeting said.
Speaking to Regional Journalists in a press conference over the weekend, WWF’s Bubba Cook said the withdrawal of Solomon Islands from the agreement is a bit unfortunate, when relating it to Pacific solidarity.
“The greatest strength of the Islands is their solidarity. When the Islands come together and want something done as we saw last year at the Commission meeting with respect to the observer safety issue, they can get things done.
“And with respect to the Tokelau Arrangement, we have been calling for improvements in the Southern Long-line fishery now probably for a decade and things continually get worse.
“The fleets operating in the Pacific are continuing to see their catch rates fall, they are struggling to make their businesses viable and of course that is driving them to set more and more hooks to catch fewer fish which those hooks which aren’t catching albacore are catching things like turtles and sharks so it is having a multitude of effects beyond just the direct targeted fishery itself.
“So the Tokelau arrangement brought those countries together to collectively try and address at a Pacific Islands level, management of the Southern Long-line fishery, in a way that would provide reasonable allocations to all of the countries that are involved,” he said.
“With Solomon Islands opting out, I think that diminishes the power and influence of the Tokelau Arrangement. Although I have been told that the Tokelau Arrangement is ‘not dead’, it will continue, it is just not going to have the same strength it would if everyone was inside the tent pushing for the same goals,” Mr Cook added.
When asked the Under-Secretary about the view of WWF in terms of the Tokelau Agreement, and the Pacific Solidarity he said, “In terms of regional solidarity, we are not going to forego our development potential when it weighs heavily against us.”
It was understood that the Pacific solidarity issue will be one of the huge question asked, when the meeting continues this week.–ENDs