Pacific Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting Underway In Vanuatu

Summit looks at how to get best economic for the region’s fisheries industry

By Anita Roberts

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, July 5, 2016) – Nearly 80 high officials and ministers of fisheries from the 17 member countries of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Forum Agency (FFA) including Australia and New Zealand were received in Port Vila yesterday.

They are in Port Vila for the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) Ministers Meeting. Deliberations at this meeting aims at ensuring best economic benefits and sustainable future for the region’s fisheries industry.

Vanuatu has taken over the role of chair of the FFC from Tuvalu to host the 13th meeting this year. The Minister of Fisheries, Matai Seremaiah, was at the Le Lagoon Convention Center yesterday to welcome the delegation.

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, who made the official opening address called upon the FFA ministers to maintain regional solidarity but at the same time be mindful of each others’ aspirations and desire to work with other development partners, distance waters fishing nations and the Western Central Fisheries Commission to manage tuna resources.

“Pacific ocean has and will continue to play an important role in the future state of play and international negotiations, particularly for its fish and more specifically, albeit highly migratory, last-remaining healthy tuna stocks.

“Tuna fisheries plays a vital role in the economy of FFA member countries.”

“Revenue received from tuna contribute significantly to the national budget of our governments; provide employment opportunities and food security for our growing populations.”

Stronger commitment is needed by us leaders to improve our management responsibility to ensure sustainability if we are to continue to enjoy the benefits of this valuable natural resource.”

The Director General of FFA, James Movick, said “the tuna resource, with which the region is blessed, is a highly migratory resource that requires coordinated and collective management.”

While we do have more or less distinct sub-regional fisheries of common interest (purse seine skipjack, tropical longline and southern albacore longline fisheries), the interactions between these different fisheries of common interest are complex and indeed most members have more than one set of fishery interests that they must juggle at the national level.”

The financial and sovereign implications of these inter-fishery interactions and potential for conflicts and real losses are such that officials may not have the mandate to resolve them, and ministerial or even higher decision-making may be required”, he said.

Regional agenda that will be deliberated include discussions of the 2016 launch of a pacific report quantifying Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Pacific Exclusive Economic Zones, with recommendations on next steps;the FFA work-plan, budget and administrative issues.

Ministers will also be looking at outcomes of the recently concluded US Treaty talks in Auckland, New Zealand, and issues to go before the Pacific Forum Leaders when they met in Pohnbei, Federate States of Micronesia on September this year.

The delegates have met yesterday ahead of the formal opening function, with two days of talks rounding off with a ministerial retreat, press conference, and closing farewell at Iririki Resort on Wednesday.

Vanuatu Daily Post
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