Fishing industry tackles coronavirus risk

Member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (F.F.A) are working together to lower the potential risk of COVID-19 being transmitted through commercial fishing. 

According to a statement released by the F.F.A. lowering the risk of the disease’s spread through fishing is essential to protecting the industry’s ongoing contribution to Pacific economies. 

Regional protocols have been developed through regional partnerships, the F.F.A. said last week.

As part of the new safety measures, infographics will be displayed on vessels and at ports to explain proper hygiene practices and good handling protocols, to mitigate the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.

Fisheries Ministers from F.F.A. member countries emphasised the importance of supporting the fisheries sector against the backdrop of the COVID-19 led economic downturn at a summit last month. 

The F.F.A Director-General, Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen, said that it was crucial that the fisheries industry continues as tourism shuts down and food security remains at potential risk.

Dr. Tupou Roosen said it was encouraging to see members making use of new protocols to combat the virus during regional surveillance operations.

“We acknowledge and sincerely thank our partners Australia, PNA, SPC, MRAG Asia-Pacific, and especially our Members for their continued support and assistance in developing this valuable tool," Dr. Tupou-Roosen said.

The partnerships driving the new cooperative regulations include a range of multilateral and intergovernmental institutions, such as: the Australian Government’s Office of the Pacific; the Office of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement; the Pacific Community; the Australian Government’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security; and the Marine Resources Assessment Group Asia Pacific.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement also welcomed the new protocols.

"This is critical to the continuation of a viable fishery and the safety of our island nations in this pandemic, remembering always that complacency kills,” said Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement,  Ludwig Kumoru.


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