National efforts, regional solidarity honoured as FFA receives Pacific Ocean Commissioner’s Award 2013

FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS.—The honour of receiving the 2013 Pacific Ocean Commissioners Award has been described as a moment of recognition for   regional solidarity by the Forum Fisheries Director General, James Movick.

News of the award came during a keynote statement at an ‘Oceanscape’ event last night in the wings of the current 44th Pacific Forum Leaders meeting this week in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Keynote speaker and Pacific Ocean Commissioner, PIFS Secretary General Tuiloma Neroni Slade, made the announcement, noting the evolution of the FFA from its early beginnings in 1979, “in the face of much international scepticism and opposition. FFA is nowadays recognised as a global leader in their work to conserve and optimally manage the living marine resources of the region,” he said. 

The award was presented by Secretary General Slade and Executive Vice President of Conservation International, Dr Gregory Stone. Receiving the award, Director General Movick said it was a “moving recognition” for the efforts of national stakeholders across the Pacific working with regional fisheries bodies such as the FFA to “strengthen a cohesive and unified approach on protecting the Ocean’s resources into the future.”.”

“This award recognizes the hard work of countless numbers of national fisheries and other senior officials and Leaders since 1979. Our national partners and leaders are navigating through an increasingly complex world of development and economic priorities. This award is a credit to their ability to keep focussed on regional unity which relies on strong national leaders able to act on their commitments,” says Movick.

“In the same manner, the success of FFA, which began as a handful of around eight professionals and support staff and now numbers around 85, relies on the people who make it all happen. This honour goes to those who have served within the agency to ensure Pacific tuna stocks are amongst the healthiest in the world. Their good work has inspired those of us currently in FFA to maintain and build on their efforts for sustainable tuna fisheries.” 

He noted there is still much work to do, confirming the FFA’s commitment to the goal of managing the region’s tuna resources for the maximum benefits of the Pacific peoples, both present and future.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency becomes the second recipient of the Pacific Ocean Commissioners Award. The inaugural 2012 award went to the Pacific Voyaging Society for their efforts to raise awareness and promote effective management and conservation of the Pacific Ocean. -ENDS