A funding injection announced yesterday by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, in Pohnpei will provide a significant boost for a Pacific Roadmap aimed at ensuring sustainable development in Pacific Island fisheries.
Visiting Micronesia for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, Prime Minister Key has announced NZ$12.15 million to support sustainable coastal fisheries and aquaculture in the region.
The Pacific Community, through its Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries Programmes, will partner with the Forum Fisheries Agency and New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries to implement the two new five-year initiatives.
The ‘Improving fisheries food security and sustainable livelihoods for Pacific Island communities’ project will focus on improving fisheries governance in nations across the Pacific.
The ‘Sustainable Pacific Aquaculture Development’ project will involve technical and scientific support for Pacific Islands to build business acumen, reduce aquatic biosecurity risks and increase the uptake of improved aquaculture practices.
“The contribution of New Zealand and Australia enables Pacific nations to step up action on the commitments and goals set by Pacific leaders; for their oceanic and coastal fisheries,” FFA Director General, James Movick, said at the launch, attended also by the Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga.
In welcoming the announcement by Prime Minister Key, Dr Tukuitonga said the scale of the projects will make it possible to address complex issues affecting food security in Pacific Island communities.
“Over the next five years, we can expect to see traditional knowledge combined with new science to alleviate food security stress and improve health outcomes, for example through increasing the consumption of fresh fish, not tinned, to reduce the rates of non-communicable diseases,” Dr Tukuitonga said.
At the 46th Forum, New Zealand committed a total of NZ$50m to support fisheries management, and the work involved is well under way.
“FFA has appreciated working closely with New Zealand over the past six months to design several large scale projects to implement the FOF Roadmap, especially in terms of reforming the longline fishery for south Pacific albacore and improving catch documentation and port inspection standards,” Mr Movick said.
“These new coastal and aquaculture projects complement that and stand to deliver a substantial benefit to fisheries management and development as a whole.”
The action to be led by SPC in the aquaculture project falls within the Coastal Fisheries Report card, while SPC’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme supports the technical work and engagement of FFA in the Tuna Fisheries Report card.
“The blend of goals and strategies in the Tuna and Coastal fisheries sectors provide the basis for report card updates. What is also clear is the commitments from Australia and New Zealand in these high-level spaces ensure traction and resourcing for Pacific nations to ensure they achieve the Fisheries they want,” FFA’s Director General said.
The new coastal fisheries project will involve empowering fisheries staff and communities to implement more effective coastal fisheries and aquaculture management and Monitoring Control and Surveillance through updated legislation, better awareness of regulations and working closely together.
Anticipated outcomes of the five-year aquaculture project include more productive and economically sustainable aquaculture operations for species such as sea cucumber, seaweed and tilapia.
Increased uptake and adoption of improved aquaculture practices and better protection against biosecurity threats are also expected outcomes.
Dr Tukuitonga said SPC was grateful for New Zealand Aid Programme support which made possible vital work to support inclusive and sustainable development in the Pacific.
Photo: Malo Hosken, SPC