Outcomes from Forum Fisheries Committee meeting in Niue

ALOFI, NIUE,WEDNESDAY 19 MAY 2009: Ministers from the members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) attended the Forum Fisheries Committee meeting and agreed on some key strategies for fisheries in the region.

Speaking at the meeting FFA Director General Su’a N.F. Tanielu said: “The importance of what we do here at this meeting is underlined by the challenging times we live in. The global economic crisis has created scarce resources and economic pressures which will impact on the sustainable development, management and control of tuna.”

“However, despite the challenges of economic crisis and increasing implementation demands from a complex fisheries management regime, in several ways I am optimistic that fisheries are in a stronger position than many other areas to weather economic storms. With the right support and thinking behind us, we can find ways to turn this crisis into opportunity and I thank the Ministers for their strategic direction.”

Outcomes include:
1)    REGIONAL FISHERIES MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY: Ministers adopted the Regional Fisheries Management and Development Strategy and agreed to transmit this to the Pacific Islands Leaders. This strategy sets out strategic objectives, outcomes, sources of verification and reporting for key objectives agreed at the Ministerial meeting.

2)    EU TRADE & RULES FOR ACCESS: Ministers asked FFA to provide assistance to Members to meet existing EU market access requirements, urging that the EC recognise the capacity constraints faced by Members in meeting the requirements of the EU IUU Regulation by January 2010 and recognised the need for more flexible Rules of Origin for fisheries products as part of the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU to promote exports of fish products from the region to the EU.

3)    SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES: Ministers endorsed the importance of full implementation of the Resolution 2008-01 (Development Aspirations of Small Island Developing States and Territories), and agreed to continue to raise the profile of the Resolution and the principles encompassed therein, including at regional and international meetings

4)    WCPFC IMPLEMENTATION: Ministers recognised with the adoption of WCPFC measures in December, there is a need for increased compliance efforts and committed resources to this, calling on FFA for assistance to develop observer capacity to reach the objective of 100% observer coverage of purse seine vessels.

5)    FUTURE WCPFC ISSUES: Ministers recognised closure by the Commission of two western high seas pockets from 1 January 2010 and upcoming consideration of high seas pockets were issues for consideration this year. Ministers also recognized the need to consider and clarify the interaction between the US Treaty and measures adopted by WCPFC and recognition of development aspirations of Small Island Developing States as part of preparations to renegotiate the US Treaty.

6)    CONTROL OF ILLEGAL FISHING: Ministers encouraged continued participation by all FFA members to ensure the successful completion of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Analytical Projects which will inform the development of the Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Strategy. Ministers agreed on an overall aim, principles and objectives for improved arrangements for regional cooperation on fisheries surveillance and enforcement agreed by the Parties to the Niue Treaty and to review regional cooperative arrangements in future.