Samoa in collaboration to help boost regional fisheries

Around 45 attendees and representatives from Samoa and around the Pacific region have gathered in Fiji to attend a workshop to boost Pacific coastal and small tuna fisheries.

The regional project — Enhancing livelihoods and food security through fisheries with nearshore fish aggregating devices in the Pacific — was held to strengthen fish aggregating device (F.A.D.) programmes, fishers’ associations and cooperatives, promote alternative livelihood activities and improve safety at sea for small-scale tuna fishers.

A fish aggregating (or aggregation) device (FAD) is a man-made object used to attract ocean going pelagic fish such as marlin, tuna and mahi-mahi which usually consists of buoys or floats tethered to the ocean floor with concrete blocks

The workshop was convened at the Nalagi Hotel in Nadi, from February 3-6 and covers Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Samoa.

The Government of Japan and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (F.A.O.) are collaborating with Pacific Island nations in the project to help boost livelihoods associated with coastal fisheries and small-scale tuna fisheries.

At the opening of the workshop, the Fijian Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau said that fish and seafood is a cornerstone of food security and that fishing in coastal areas is significantly anchored in the livelihoods of our local communities.

First Secretary and Head of Development Cooperation for the Embassy of Japan in Fiji, Taisuke Iwano emphasised that to vitalize communities, we have to develop efficient methods of fishing and resource management conducted by fisheries cooperatives, at the same time. 

He also said that developing diversified ways to utilize resources, such as recreational fishing, scuba diving, and eco-tourisms, will energize communities.

FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, Eriko Hibi said that the underlying purpose of the project is empowerment.

“For fishers, communities and countries. F.A.O. is pleased to work with Japan to support fishing communities, develop livelihood opportunities and improve sea safety for fishers in the region," she said.

Samoa was represented by two officers from the Fisheries Division within the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Kamaliele Laki Fidow and Autalavou Tauaefa. 

They were accompanied by Savai’i fisherman, Tuitama Falemalu, who said it was a very good opportunity to understand more about the project and that he believes that it will be very useful for the fishers of Samoa.

Tauaefa from M.A.F. said that fisheries remains an important source of food, income and cultural identity for Pacific Island nations. 

“It's crucial to develop livelihood opportunities through fishing while improving safety at sea for nearshore FAD fishers.” he said.

He concluded that this project is a positive step toward meeting these aims.

The project will employ inter and intra-country expertise across the Pacific and in other regions with similar small-scale tuna fisheries, such as the Caribbean to contribute to knowledge sharing on aspects of nearshore fish aggregation device management, design and deployment. 

FAO will also engage regional partners, such as the Pacific Community (SPC) and Japanese research institutions that have a significant commitment to make regarding the development of the fisheries sector in the Pacific.

The workshop will bring together representatives from National Fisheries Agencies and fishers from the participating countries, regional institutions and experts as well as Japanese institutions and partners. 

The workshop explained the objectives and expected outputs of the project, and will allow countries and partners to further discuss national and regional activities work plans, as well as engage in in-depth discussions on two of the project areas (nearshore F.A.D. programmes and safety at sea).

The Government of Japan is providing USD 4.636 million (ST 12.248 million) for the three-year project, of which F.A.O. is the implementing agency.

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