The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Lopao’o Natanielu Mua, is in the Cook Islands this week.
He is among Ministers from the Pacific and delegations from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (F.F.A.) 17 member countries meeting to discuss priority issues for enhanced regional cooperation in offshore fisheries, focussing on the sustainable management of the highly-valuable tuna sector.
The theme for the 15th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministers Meeting (F.F.C.M.I.N.15) is “Our Moana, our fish, our future.”
This year, Ministers will discuss and endorse a number of agenda items including but not limited to:
• F.F.A. Annual Report outlining the annual successes and ongoing challenges of the Agency
• F.F.A. Strategic Plan 2020 – work to develop a new Strategic Plan for the coming decade that ensures members agreement to and ownership of the Agency’s work programme
• Regional longline strategy – efforts to draw out a common approach to ensuring sustainability and restoring economic viability to regional longline fisheries
• Priorities for Conservation and Management measures for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting in December 2018
• Further consideration of efforts to promote Regional processing hubs
• Progress in implementing the Pacific Maritime Security Program including the roll-out of the new Aerial Surveillance Program to help address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
• Progress in ratifying the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement
• Information sharing and promoting enhanced Maritime Domain Awareness
• Progress in advancing he goals and objectives of the Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries
• Process for bringing key issues to the attention if the Forum Leaders Meeting in September 2018
The appointment of a new Director General noting that the six-year term of the current Director General, James Movick, will conclude at the end of 2018.
F.F.A. is a key regional fisheries management body for Pacific Island countries, providing strategic fisheries management advice to its member countries on the management of fish stocks, monitoring and surveillance of fishing activities and trade, investment and market access for fisheries exports from the Pacific region.
The F.F.A member countries are Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.