Learn from the past, hold fast to rights over offshore fisheries—FFA's Movick to Trade, Market Access group
20th July 2016, FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS – FFA’s Director General James Movick has shared two key advisory tips with Pacific Trade and Fisheries officials eyeing Global Fisheries Trade and Market Access in an FFA-training course this week. He says investment promotion “needs to learn from lessons of the past – don’t keep making the same mistakes.” He’s also reminded officials that Pacific nations looking at their stake in the global fisheries trade equation, must hold firmly to their hard-won rights over their Exclusive Economic Zones.
Senior Trade, Investment, Food Safety and Fisheries Officials from 12 Pacific nations have spent the last two weeks at FFA HQ in Honiara, looking at the relationship between trade policy and fisheries development in Pacific Islands countries. Led by international specialists, Dr Liam Camping of Queens College, London, and Dr Elizabeth Havice of the University of North Carolina, they unpacked trade arrangements and talked through the values guiding transnational global ventures into the national fisheries structures of developing Pacific interests, where both economic aspirations and sustainable management of tuna resources come face to face with the resource realities connected to both.
DG Movick spoke to participants about the strategic overview of fisheries trade and investment encapsulated in the Roadmap for Sustainable Fisheries providing four goals towards achieving economic benefits. The current training course, he said, “underscores the vital point that fisheries development cannot be achieved by fisheries officials and ministries alone but must involve other key state actors such as trade and food safety officials.”
He noted that while the joint training workshop for senior fisheries, trade, investment and food safety officials been planned by FFA for a number of years it gained greater urgency with the endorsement of the Future of Fisheries Roadmap by Pacific Forum Leaders in 2016 and their directive to expedite economic benefits from the region’s tuna resource.
“National development cannot be delivered by the FFA secretariat; the national results needed in terms of expanded employment, income opportunities, broadened investment activities are solely the role of national governments and to achieve this a whole of Government approach is vital,” Movick told the participants.
He provided examples of how FFA incorporates that reality into its regional delivery, such as through the work supporting the setup of Competent Authority bodies to help smooth access to lucrative foreign markets. He also noted the important links between national trade, market access, customs and fisheries enforcement, noting how these functions needed to be integrated to effectively address EU IUU certification requirements for exports to the EU market, which are also being adopted by other major market countries.
DG Movick strongly urged the assembled investment, trade and fisheries officials to ensure that national investment decisions are made based on expert objective financial analysis with full regard to the capability of investments to be internationally competitive after an initial start-up period, and not be decided by political and nationalistic sentiments that ignored the future costs and sustainability of the investment.
He says the training given to participants in value chain analysis, comparative advantage, and studies relevant to the new Pacific context should help PICS to "look toward creating alliances between resource owners and users". These alliances would take into account the entire tuna value chain in order to be able to extract revenues and rent at all possible value points, rather than be limited to considering just nationally based fishing and initial processing investments where they may not be competitive.
“Frankly, Pacific nations should also consider whether they may be better able to sustainably meet their employment and income generating goals by investing tuna access revenues in other sectors where they have better comparative advantage”, he told the workshop.
Finally, he urged national officials to be conscious of and vigilant in defence of the regime of coastal states zone based management that PICs have adopted and effectively utilized since 1979.
“The benefits that the Pacific has gained with increased revenues from fishing access and greater leverage over fisheries investment in return for access, such as through the Vessel Day Scheme and soon hopefully the Tokelau Arrangement, has come about as a result of the PIC region’s early and firm stance on Coastal States rights and their ability to cooperatively manage straddling stocks and migratory species in their EEZs. The affirmation and assertion of sovereign and collective coastal states rights based management, including to demand that the WCPFC adopt compatible measures on the high seas, will remain central to the PIC’s legal tuna management framework and FFA will continue to uphold the basic principle of promoting members’ rights as resource owners,” says DG Movick.
Funding for the trade and fisheries training has mainly come from New Zealand, with added support from the Japan Promotion Fund.--ENDS