Samoa first FFA/SPC member to modernize fisheries legislation, with assistance of FFA and SPC
APIA, WEDNESDAY 23 JULY 2008: The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Secretariat of the South Pacific Community (SPC) coordinated legal consultations in Apia last week to review Samoa’s fisheries legislation. Samoa is the first of FFA/SPC countries to undertake a consultative process to modernize their fisheries legislation with the assistance of FFA and SPC, working together for the first time to set a benchmark for fisheries law.
On Thursday and Friday last week, staff and management of the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries gave their input into draft fisheries legislation, prepared by FFA and SPC. FFA and SPC drafted the new legislation following some initial consultations with government and a further consultation with stakeholders including the Department of the Attorney General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, industry and non-government organisations last year.
Created in 1988, Samoa's fisheries Act needed modernization to better address new developments, reflect national priorities and enable the country to meet its regional and international obligations. The new legislation will cover coastal, aquaculture and oceanic fisheries in the one Act and be accompanied by a set of regulations (to be launched at the same time as the Act is approved). This work is an important part of FFA’s strategic objective of providing legislative assistance to FFA members so they can modernize their fisheries legislation. FFA has developed model legislation, which is adapted to reflect national needs and aspirations using a consultation process, to create legislation which is suited to the FFA member. Drafting of legislation is then completed as a team of FFA, SPC and fisheries and legal staff of the member country.
In most island countries under the umbrella of SPC, fisheries legislations lack essential provisions under coastal components. Assistance by SPC in developing coastal fisheries legislation is a new initiative in order to provide a legal framework for island countries to regulate and manage inshore fisheries resources at a sustainable manner. FFA and SPC will work together to commence legislative reviews in other countries and have planned reviews in Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Marshall Islands and Nauru.
FFA Director General Su’a N.F. Tanielu said: “SPC and FFA are very pleased to be working with Samoa to conduct the first review of a country’s fisheries legislation. The consultations in Apia and the work the Samoan Government, FFA and SPC do together will ensure that Samoa’s upcoming fisheries legislation reflect the country’s conservation, management and development aspirations. We look forward to providing assistance to other countries to improve their national fisheries legislation so capacity to participate in regional cooperation and take advantage of new opportunities arising from the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission is increased.”
Samoan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Fisheries Division, Mulipola Atonio Mulipola said: “Change to our fisheries law will not only allow us to fulfil our regional and international obligations but strengthen our efforts to effectively promote development, conservation and management of both coastal and oceanic fisheries. Furthermore, the new legislation framework will provide opportunities for economic development through aquaculture, fishing in the high seas, chartering arrangements as well as potential fishing access arrangements in the future.” “We thank FFA and SPC for this legislative assistance.”