Statement of Outcomes from the Special Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting

 

1.     

Ministers representing Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, met in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, on 20 June 2019 as a Special Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting (SFRMM).

2.     

Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu were represented at senior official level.  French Polynesia and New Caledonia were unable to attend.

3.      

Ministers noted the active participation and ongoing engagement of partners and other observer organisations and expressed particular gratitude to Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS), Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, Director General of Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and Representatives of the Pacific Community (SPC), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) for their participation.  Partner organisations in attendance were the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and Parties to Nauru Agreement Office (PNAO).

 

Ministerial Chair

4.     

Ministers invited FSM, represented by the Honourable Marion Henry, Secretary for Resources and Development, to assume the Chair of the SRFMM.

Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting (RFMM) Terms of Reference

5.     

Ministers approved the ToR for the RFMM for forwarding to Leaders noting that these would be submitted via the Forum Officials Committee.

Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture  

Coastal Fisheries Report Card

6.     

Ministers noted the progress made in preparation of the 2019 Coastal Fisheries Report Card and committed, to the extent possible, to make additional data available to SPC for finalisation of the Report Card.

7.     

Ministers also endorsed the compilation of National Report Cards on Coastal Fisheries, to be led by countries, with assistance by SPC, and tailored to national needs and priorities.

 

11th SPC Heads of Fisheries Outcomes

8.      

Ministers welcomed the outcomes of the SPC Heads of Fisheries meeting and supported the holding of annual HoF meetings, and that HoF be the competent regional body for compiling information and advice on coastal fisheries and aquaculture for consideration by the RFMM.

 

Coastal Fishery Working Group Brief on “A call to Leaders”

9.      

Ministers noted the work of the Coastal Fisheries Working Group (CFWG) but expressed concern regarding its lack of accountability to member Governments. Ministers noted the proposed review of the CFWG Terms of Reference in 2020, and recommended to SPC that the CFWG be disbanded and that other options be considered for giving effect to the Leaders’ decision in 2016 in relation to coastal fisheries (para 10, 47th Leaders Communique).  Ministers called for the SPC Heads of Fisheries to be the primary vehicle for formulating advice on coastal fisheries management to the RFMM.

 

Climate Change – Regional Collaboration

10.  

In recognizing that climate change is the single biggest threat to the region, Ministers noted the key areas of work required to respond to the impacts of Climate Change on fisheries.

 

11.  

Ministers requested the relevant CROP bodies and partners to coordinate their respective work to assist Members to adapt to the fisheries related impacts of Climate Change, and to continue to prepare joint reports to Ministers on this work.

 

12.  

Ministers urged CROP bodies and partners to focus their support on members’ priorities, and supported their activities to mobilise resources for the required science, technical and policy work to empower and support members.

 

13.  

Ministers supported the call for integrated policy dialogue within national jurisdictions to ensure climate change planning incorporates all sectoral impacts on fisheries.

Emerging and Critical Environmental Issues

14.  

Ministers noted the emerging environmental issues and their impact on fisheries, including marine litter, mercury levels in fish and ingestion of plastic.  In doing so, Ministers supported the call for strong collaboration at national level between fisheries and environment administrations.  Ministers also supported the provision of integrated advice to CROP governing council meetings on this critical issue.