Outcomes from Ministerial Meetings about fisheries

MADANG, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, 7-8 JULY 2010: The Sixth Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial Meeting agreed on several strategic priorities for management and control of fishing. Australia, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Republic of Palau, Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Kingdom of Tonga and Tuvalu were represented at Ministerial level and four other members were represented by Senior Officials at the meeting. 

Ministers discussed progress to create sustainable fisheries management and development. They approves an FFA/SPC report The Future of Pacific Island Fisheries for presentation to the next Pacific Islands Forum meeting which outlines some of the key challenges for leaders as custodians of fisheries over the next few decades.

Ministers also adopted the Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Strategy, which outlines strategies and actions for regional cooperation to control illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the Pacific Islands. Ministers also endorsed the implementation of the Regional Economic Integration in Pacific Tuna Fisheries program as a tool to assist FFA members gain additional economic returns from their fishery resources. 

Ministers noted the importance of the Ministerial meeting of fisheries and law enforcement to be held in Canberra on 12 and 13 July 2010 and the work of the Niue Treaty meetings agreed that these outcomes would be taken forward and progressed at the meeting in Canberra. 

Ministers appointed Mr James Movick (Federated States of Micronesia) to the position of Deputy Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency. 

Ministers noted the sad passing of colleague the late Mr Bernard Thoulag, Managing Director of the FSM National Oceanic Resource Management Authority.  Ministers noted that Bernard was one of the true statesmen in Pacific fisheries whose loss will be sorely felt.

Ministers expressed their sincere condolences to Bernard's family. 

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, 12-13 JULY 2010: As FFA members fisheries and law enforcement Ministers met this week to discuss priorities for monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing in the region, the FFA Secretariat expressed its appreciation for the commitment of the Australian Government to supporting regional efforts to control fishing. 

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke announced that $400,000 would support the implementation by FFA of the regional monitoring, control and surveillance strategy, endorsed by FFA Ministers the previous week.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said:

"Waters around the Pacific islands support some of the most productive tuna fisheries in the world. These fisheries are a key driver of sustainable economic growth in the region as well as an important part of regional food security and must be protected from illegal fishing activity.

 "Illegal fishing is estimated to cost the region up to $1.7 billion per year, and has the potential to significantly erode the benefits to Pacific Island people associated with tuna fisheries. The Gillard Government is working with the FFA to support the implementation of a regional monitoring, control and surveillance strategy to eliminate illegal fishing activity. We want to ensure the long term sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific Islands region and associated flow on benefits to developing coastal States." 

FFA Director General Su'a N.F. Tanielu said:

"On behalf of FFA, I would like to express our appreciation for Minister Burke's announced investment in controlling illegal fishing in our region. This follows on from the Australian Government's support for control of Pacific Islands fisheries through assistance such as surveillance exercises expertise and funding, their role as a member in FFA MCS meetings and their key support of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency through AusAID. 

"This support from the Australian Government will assist FFA's Pacific Island members strengthen our institutions and mechanisms for control of fishing so we can close the gaps for illegal fishing and therefore reap maximum economic benefits from our sustainable management of tuna." 

Other outcomes from the Joint Ministerial Meeting are expected to be made available by host country Australia shortly.