Achieving the SDGs: An Exemplary Contribution

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and the Sustainable Development Goals

A unique contribution

The Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) was established by Pacific leaders in 1979 to support cooperation among Pacific Island Countries in management of tuna fisheries of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO).  The 2.7 million ton annual WCPO tuna catch accounts for sixty percent of global production with sixty percent of this catch coming from the waters of FFA Members.  Tuna fisheries are a key resource for all Pacific Island countries – for many the only renewable economic resource.  For the Pacific, therefore, effective management of tuna resources is not just relevant to SDG 14 but to achievement of SDGs right across the board.

The FFA provides strategic support to its 17 member countries across Fisheries Management, Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) and Fisheries Development.  The FFA’s Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC) provides a sustained regional focus in the fight against IUU.

FFA members’ collaboration in the WCPFC ensures that the voice of Pacific Island countries, as resource owners, is strongly heard in negotiations with Distant Water Fishing Nations to put in place binding Conservation and Management Measures.

These activities are underpinned by best practice fisheries science by the Oceanic Fisheries Program of the Pacific Community. The WCPO is the only tuna fishery on the planet in which all four target stocks are currently rated as sustainably fished with no overfishing occurring.

Tuna fisheries provided 25,000 jobs to FFA member countries in 2017.  The success of the Vessel Day Scheme driven by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), a sub-regional grouping of FFA member countries, has seen revenues from the purse seine fishery increase from from 220 million in 2012 to 480 million in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of government revenue in five member SIDs. 

The achievements of Pacific regional fisheries management to date is a significant global example of success, not just specifically against SDG 14.2, 14.4 and 14.7 but in relation to the full range of SDG 14 challenges. In the wider context the successful management and utilisation of the WCPO tuna fisheries is a significant contributor across a range of SDGs including poverty reduction, eliminating hunger, promoting decent work and improving industry innovation and infrastructure.  The SDGs are well reflected in the Pacific Fisheries Roadmap endorsed by Pacific Leaders in 2015, which sets the framework for the FFA work program.

FFA receives support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through a partnership between FAO and UNDP for FFA to deliver the Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP 2) which specifically targets effective SIDs participation in WCPFC processes.

There is nowhere else globally where a group of SIDs work so closely together to achieve a sustainable future or where the effective management of tuna fisheries are so important for achievement of so many of the SDGs.