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HONIARA – The 18th WCPFC Tuna Commission Meeting has agreed to an extension of the Compliance Monitoring Scheme Conservation and Management Measure for another two years, however more cooperation is needed to ensure that the work is done on making the scheme more effective.

Heading into the December 2021 meeting, the Compliance Monitoring Scheme (CMS) Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) was also a top priority for the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) members—due to expire in 2021—because of an agreed need by FFA members to ensure the scheme is fair, transparent, effective and efficient.

“There’s been a lot of discussion around the ways in which the CMS-CMM can be strengthened. Due to a range of reasons, essential CMS work is still incomplete,” FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said.

She added that FFA members have taken the lead in seeking to address this work, speaking to regional journalists in a briefing before the December commission meeting.

Instead of investing more time to implement the current measure, Dr Tupou-Roosen conveyed that “FFA members suggest the WCPFC focuses its collective efforts on progressing the critical suite of future work”.

“Our members have invested significant time and effort to lead work on audit points and the development of a risk-based assessment framework”. These priority tasks would help achieve the purpose, goals and principles that the Commission committed to in adopting the CMS-CMM.

For example, the risk-based assessment framework aims to help members to focus on the key areas in our fisheries, she said, that we may need to invest more time in, or to help build capacity in; and to ensure that we can support all [members] working towards compliance with any of the obligations.

During the 18th Tuna Commission meeting, the collective decision by all Commission members was to support the overall continuity of the measure, but to also ensure time is dedicated in 2022 to ensuring the scheme is revised to take on board the work that has been led by FFA. This has been a positive outcome for the FFA membership, as highlighted by the Director General.

“The fundamental point made by our membership here is that the process needs to be right and these tasks completed before the CMS can be fairly and fully applied.

“Our members are so committed to this measure; they have always driven the work around this measure to continue to strengthen it. We’re pleased that the measure can continue for another two years, and that this work will be prioritised at TCC next year [2022],” Dr Tupou-Roosen concluded.

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