FFA says it will build on gains made from Cairns summit as Samoa prepares to host WCPFC 2014

FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS –The Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency, FFA, is preparing a work program aimed at ensuring its 17 member nations stay on top of the gains made at this month’s Cairns Tuna summit.
Despite a mixed bag of results for a range of draft measures tabled by the Pacific, including frustration and disappointment over a watered-down CMM on Tropical Tuna, in the list of measures confirmed this week in a circular from the Tuna Commission, there were some wins for the Pacific.  These included the adoption of two new Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs). They aim to ensure the Commission enacts its responsibilities to Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) and territories, and how to account for the impact of disproportionate burden.

SIDS focus, new tuna measures high on agenda as FFA heads to annual Tuna Commission meet

Cairns, AUSTRALIA. — A Pacific call for the Tuna Commission to get back to its founding promises has formed a strong part of a high-level Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency meeting in Australia this week. In the build up to next week’s annual WCPFC Tuna Commission event, the FFA governing council of 17 Pacific Island states and territories has resolved to renew efforts to ensure the WCPFC’s founding commitments to Small Islands Developing States and sustainable management of Tuna stocks are met.
The 88th   session of the Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC 88) ended a five-day meeting at the Rydges Hotel Conference Centre in Cairns, Australia, yesterday. More discussions will take place this weekend in preparation for the 10th Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC 10) meeting, at the Cairns Conference Centre from 2-6 December.

Pacific officials step up Fisheries negotiation skills

FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS – Pacific officials met in Australia this week to hone their negotiations skills, ahead of key tuna fisheries meetings next weekend.

The international fisheries negotiation training is an annual two-phase project initiated by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, FFA, in 2012. The delivery arm of the training is the Australia National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security. The ANCORS is part of the University of Woollongong.

Pacific Fisheries training scholarship boost from New Zealand, FFA partnership

Monday 11th November 2013/FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS. — New Zealand Aid and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency will be collaborating in a new initiative to promote maritime qualifications training for the Pacific.

The initiative covers the twelve FFA members with which New Zealand has bilateral aid programs – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Scholarships are for a range of NZ-based courses including senior seafarer licensing for inshore, offshore and deep sea fishing positions. It broadens the range of access for interested applicants, who can deal directly with their NZ High Commissions or Fisheries officials’ in country, or with FFA.

“We are pleased to support programs which deliver incentives for gaining skills and qualifications within regional Fisheries,” says FFA Director-General James Movick.

Pacific Tuna talks intensify ahead of annual Tuna Commission meet.

FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS, Friday 01 November 2013Member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) today completed a week of intensive meetings ahead of key negotiations for Pacific Fisheries this December.

The 87th Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) met at the FFA Conference Centre in Honiara, following four days of intense discussions during the 9th Management Options Consultation and the 15th meeting of the Scientific Committee on South Pacific Tuna and Billfish. These events help FFA members prepare for the 10th Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting, from 1-6 December in Cairns, Australia.

Scene@FFA: Team Kurukuru 2013 on the final day of the regional surveillance operation, Friday 18th October.

Scene@FFA: Team Kurukuru 2013 on the final day of the regional surveillance operation, Friday 18th October.

In support of national and bilateral patrolling of vessels in Pacific waters, Operation Kurukuru is the largest of four major operations planned and run from the FFA Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre each year, to help protect the region’s most precious commodity from poachers and illegal activities. All surveillance operations are planned and coordinated months in advance by a high-level team leader, Royal Australian Navy Commander Mike Pounder (seated front row, far left, above). The FFA-RSFC provides support 24 hours, seven days a week to FFA members’ national headquarters and the Australian, New Zealand, French and US surveillance headquarters to work collaboratively against Illegal unreported and unregulated fishing activities.

National participation key to success of fisheries surveillance operation: Kurukuru 2013 ends

FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS, Friday 18th October 2013 – National surveillance efforts remain the key to the success of the region’s largest annual sweep of fishing vessels in Pacific waters. That’s been the major finding of Operation Kurukuru 2013, which this evening completed its tenth and final day since its launch on October 8th.  

Operation Kurukuru 2013 resulted in a record 1042 vessels being sighted, 111 boardings, and one infringement so far, while others are pending ongoing investigation. 

12 national Pacific class Patrol Boats, five military aircraft, and the 17 member countries of the FFA were involved in Operation Kurukuru 2013. The aircraft flew a total of 71hours and together with the patrol boats covered an area of 1,130,000 sq. nautical miles surveying the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of many of the Pacific Island Countries as well as adjacent high seas areas.

FFA signs partnership agreement with NZ development org

FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS. — A boost in numbers of New Zealand development volunteers supporting Pacific fisheries is to follow the launch of a new regional partnership between the New Zealand Volunteer Services’ Abroad (VSA) program, the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
The partnership begins with VSA professional, Nicholas Hay, taking up a post in Nauru’s Marine Resources ministry later this month. Hay will be based at FFA HQ in Honiara for induction briefings before he heads to his 18 month-stint in Nauru. Other NZ volunteers will follow Hay, a Coastal Fisheries Scientist, as FFA member countries work with the agency to identify areas in their national fisheries where the experience and skills of VSA professionals are required.

Regional fisheries surveillance cooperation continues with Operation Bigeye 2013

 FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS Pacific analysts and national fisheries officers are noting stronger levels of cooperation and data collation, following on from the   annual ‘Operation Bigeye 2013’ regional surveillance swoop on fishing vessels in Pacific waters. 

Pacific Fisheries Observers help crack down on illegal tuna fishing

SPC-FFA Joint Media Release--Evidence given by Pacific Island fisheries observers has helped secure judgements against the owners, operators and fishing masters of six tuna purse seiners, with heavy fines imposed – over USD 1.5 million in total.
All of the boats had been accused of fishing on fish aggregating devices (FADs) during the FAD ban in 2009, a measure put in place across the region to reduce catches of small bigeye tuna. Several vessels were also charged with placing FADs during the closure, and setting their nets on whales.
The observers gave evidence in two long-running court cases brought by the US authorities, who enforce regulations on their own fleet fishing in Pacific Island waters, under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.