Fisheries ministers from 17 Pacific nations met in the Cook Islands this week to set the regional fisheries management agenda for the next 12 months.
Outgoing Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) Chair, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston, said that regional cooperation underpins Pacific fisheries management.
“Fisheries are an important economic resource for Pacific Island nations, providing jobs and food security, and it is vital for the future of these 17 nations that this resource is managed sustainably,” Minister Ruston said.
“Individual nations working together will create the regional solidarity needed to ensure our fishing industries are acting with integrity.
“Australia is seeking regional support for our key priorities of improved management of important regional tuna stocks through harvest strategies and an effective and fair compliance monitoring scheme.”
The annual FFC Ministers meeting sets the agenda for the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and FFA priorities for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
“For the past year, I have had the privilege of being Chair of the FFC, helping to provide the leadership and guidance that is driving our sustainability agenda in regional fisheries management,” Minister Ruston said.
“On behalf of the Australian Government, in the margins of this meeting I signed a new 10 year partnership between Australian and the FFA Secretariat that will provide support for FFA activities for sustainable Pacific fisheries management.
“Australia is a significant contributor to the FFA, providing $5 million a year in core funding.
“I wish the newly appointed Director General of the FFA Secretariat, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, from Tonga, all the best in her new role—the first female to hold the position.”
More information: www.ffa.int.
- The Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery is Australia's third most valuable Commonwealth fishery, with a real value in 2015-16 of $48.8 million and a total catch of 5139 tonnes.
- The western and central Pacific Ocean tuna fishery is the largest tuna fishery in the world catching over 2.7 million tonnes valued at almost USD$5.2 billion. Over half of this was caught in the waters of Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) member nations, including Australia.
- In 2016 Pacific tuna fisheries contributed almost USD$500 million in access fees for Pacific island countries and providing 23,000 jobs.