Funding Boost for Fisheries Affirmed at 45th Pacific Islands ForumNewsroom
Multi-million dollar funding announcements at the Leaders’ Summit during the recently concluded 45th Pacific Islands Forum in Palau are a ‘strong affirmation’ for fisheries management, economic growth and regional development.
The funding announcements came from Australia and New Zealand and were allotted to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and fisheries work in the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
FFA Director-General James Movick welcomed the funding announcements from Australia and New Zealand at the 45th Pacific Leaders Meeting in Palau.
He says the timing, sizeable allocations, and high-level statements were “an important affirmation for the key regional economic and development priority our Fisheries and Maritime zones represent to all Pacific nations.
“Australia and New Zealand are members of FFA as well as being the largest donors to the organization, and their increased contributions are deeply appreciated. More importantly, the effort from both partners to ensure an excellent working relationship both with FFA and each other is vital to ensure that we secure total funding that can truly service the needs of the region” Movick said.
Earlier, New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced support of NZD $66 million for regional fisheries over five years, with an additional NZD $4 million allocation to FFA to enhance the collection, analysis and sharing of timely and robust fisheries data to support fisheries science and enforcement.
Information management is amongst FFA’s priority areas towards effective management of Pacific tuna resources. Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, in a special press conference in Koror, announced provision of an additional AUD $23.5 million over four years to the FFA and the SPC, bringing Australia’s total support to regional fisheries to an estimated AUD $40 million. Australia’s funding will help Pacific island countries maximize their returns from fish resources while safeguarding stocks for future food security.
The additional funding from the two leading development donors to the region will ensure FFA drives the regional efforts to develop, manage and secure valuable tuna stocks, says the FFA Director-General.
He says the funding is “extremely valuable to the region’s fisheries efforts and I thank both partners very sincerely for their generosity and for their faith in FFA.
“The Secretariat is charged with ensuring that FFA has a diverse, yet closely integrated funding base to roll out its blend of program and project services to the region. The efforts of our two principal donors to work collaboratively facilitates that undertaking,” explained the Director.
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Also accomplished at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum last month was a one-stop multilateral document aimed at enhancing cooperation in fisheries surveillance and law enforcement against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement, or NTSA provides a robust, legal framework for countries to share resources and exchange fisheries data and intelligence to step up efficiency and save costs when it comes to monitoring fishing vessels in Pacific waters. The ratifications, most recently those handed over by leaders from Samoa and Vanuatu during the summit, added to those of the Cook Islands, Nauru and Palau, take the NTSA across the line and into effect, meaning it now has binding legal force in the five countries who have ratified it.
Receiving the ratifications, Forum Fisheries Director General James Movick thanked all countries involved in progressing the NTSA into force. The ratifications from Samoa and Vanuatu followed another milestone moment, the signing on of New Zealand to the NTSA. Other signatories are Australia, Cook Islands, FSM, Nauru, Niue, Palau, PNG, Marshall Islands, Samoa, and Tuvalu.
“This is a significant milestone for the region, further recognizing that our strength is in our cooperation as we continue to maximize the benefits from our fisheries resources and work together to protect those valuable resources,” Director-General Movick said.
He noted the work involved in the NTSA’s four-year journey, from its conceptual beginnings towards adoption and launch for signatures in November 2012. Since then, it had been a core focus of outreach led by the Forum Fisheries Agency legal team, and gained three more signatories at the July FFC 10th Ministerial in Tokelau. Read more details here.