Vote of Thanks FFA Director General, Dr Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen FFC126.
- Honourable Minister for Natural Resources and Commerce, John Silk
- Outgoing FFC Chair, Kiribati (represented by Kaon Tiamere)
- Incoming FFC Chair, MIMRA Director Glen Joseph
- Distinguished Heads of Fisheries and representatives from our FFA member countries
- CEO of the PNA Office, Dr Sangaa Clark
- South Pacific Group Chair, Mr Roseti Imo
- Representatives of our CROP Agencies (SPC and PIFS)
On behalf of our FFA Members and the Secretariat, it is an honour to thank you Hon. Minister John Silk, MIMRA Director Glen Joseph and, through you to your government and incredible people of the Republic of Marshall Islands, for your warm hospitality accorded to us from the time we arrived to your beautiful shores - thank you for the fishing and the picnic.
This is the first annual Officials meeting in person since the pandemic - it is fitting that it be held here in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
The setting here reminds me of a story I heard.
It is the story of a farmer, his son and their horse. One day, the horse ran away and all the neighbours came around and said, “that’s terrible.” The farmer said, “maybe.” The son went out to look for their horse and brought back three horses. All the neighbours came around and said, “That’s great,” to which the farmer replied, “maybe.” One day, the farmer’s son rode one of their horses and ended up falling and injuring himself, and all the neighbours came around and said, “that’s terrible,” and the farmer replied, “maybe.” Shortly after, soldiers came in to order all able-bodied men to fight in their war and the farmer’s son was not chosen. And all the neighbours came around and said, “that’s great,” to which the farmer replied, “maybe.”
To me, the story is about perseverance, commitment, resilience and strength - it is about striving to do better and not resting on your laurels when you’re successful and not sinking when you’re faced with challenges. This is what I see with the people of the great Republic of the Marshall Islands - a very strong, committed, and resilient people determined to continuously move forward - when they succeed and especially when they are challenged.
The same determination is what I see with our Pacific People.
The same determination is what I see with FFA Members.
The same determination is what I see with your Secretariat.
There have been many successes and challenges in our work - and those are the subject of our discussion this week - but it is our Pacific way to persevere.
Everything on our agenda is important - but I would like to focus our attention on:
- WCPFC priorities
- CMS - addressing the unfairness in the tools and information for that process - ER and EM, draft EM Tech Policy
- Climate Change
- US Treaty negotiations
- People - labour standards, observer compensation scheme
- Reviews - including governance, IMS
And, the basis for us continuing to move forward has been and will always be our Cooperation.
And we remind ourselves why we do what we do and why we must cooperate: Our Fish, Our People, Our Future.