JOINT MEDIA RELEASE: Competent authorities and industry representatives received training to access EU market
Suva, Fiji, 28 May, 2019 – A three-week Regional Fish Inspectors Course to upskill competent authorities and fishing industry officials in the region to attain European Union (EU) certification for tuna fish products export to the EU market was held in Suva, Fiji.
The training was provided by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) as part of the five-year Pacific European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme funded by the European Union (EUR 35 million) with additional targeted support from the government of Sweden (EUR 10 million).
Currently, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are the only four Pacific Island countries that are certified to export fish products to the EU market: the region is missing an important opportunity to access a premium market. The three-week interactive training course covered the tasks and duties of a Competent Authority officer and looked into fish processing, the food safety aspect, hygiene practices, as well as the understanding of key legislation and requirements to access key overseas markets such as the EU, China and the United States.
Discussing the training, Jope Tamani, FFA Trade Development Advisor said “As a Competent Authority you need to look for things unseen. It is your role to deliver fish that is safe and legally caught to your market. We recognise and are grateful for the support from the Pacific-EU Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme. This training would not have been possible if it weren’t for this support.”
Ashiana Shah, Quality Assurance Manager from Sealand Processers in Fiji found the training “Very interesting and worth my time. What stood out for me was learning how to deal with issues at my work place and with different people. I appreciate the way the trainers conducted the training so all of us can learn from each other rather than just going through coursebooks and documentation.”
Takaia Tekaie, Factory Manager from Kiribati Fish Limited commented that “The trainers were very knowledgeable and were able to clarify things using examples from their experience. What we learnt on EU Market access requirements is critically important for the development of fishing industries in the Pacific.”
The Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner said “Strengthening the capacities of sanitary and fisheries authorities is one of the key priorities of our marine partnership. Only 4 of 15 Pacific countries can currently export to the EU. We are committed to support the Pacific countries in their efforts to maintain and access new markets, boost sustainable investments in the domestic tuna industry and increase trade benefits for poverty alleviation, growth and employment.”
FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said “Clearly the EU shares our view of the need to ensure food security and livelihoods through the sustainable management of tuna fisheries resources for our region, and are supporting this through the PEUMP programme. Cooperation is the cornerstone of our success and it is this kind of partnership that is testament of that.”
About 20 participants from six FFA member countries – Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu attended the training.
The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by the region. Among these are the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources; the threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters; the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training in the sector; and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and to promote greater recognition of gender issues within the sector.
The programme is being implemented in close collaboration by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP).
For more information and photos contact:
Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, ph: +677 7733097 [email protected]
Mohammed Nazeem Kasim, EU Press and Information Officer, Email: [email protected]
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. www.ffa.int