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Australia increases support for Pacific fisheries

Australia increases support for Pacific fisheries

5 July 2011 - Australia has boosted its support for Pacific fisheries organisations to help ensure food security and economic opportunity throughout the region.

During his visit to Solomon Islands last week, Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles said that sustainably managing and developing fisheries resources would be a key challenge for Pacific Island countries over the next decade. The fishing industry accounts for around 19,000 jobs across the region.

Australia is providing approximately SBD 100 million over four years to two regional fisheries organisations: the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

“These organisations play an important role in the region, given the size of the Pacific's marine resources and increasing global interest in Pacific fisheries. Fisheries resources constitute a critical segment of many Pacific Island economies, contributing around SBD 1.7 billion to the region's GDP,” said Mr Marles.

Mr Marles announced the funding following a visit to the Honiara-based FFA, including a tour of the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre, with Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney. The Centre uses satellite tracking of vessels and other data to assist countries in the region detect illegal fishing activities.

“With this announcement, Australia has nearly doubled its annual contribution to the FFA. This support will help update FFA members' national fisheries laws, co-fund a regional observer scheme and increase training for Pacific fisheries officers.”

Australia's increased support to the SPC will support fisheries exports and enhance sustainable management by improving scientific advice.

The funding forms part of Australia's SBD 3.5 billion Food Security through Rural Development Initiative to boost agricultural productivity, help rural people increase their incomes and improve long-term food security and nutrition.

ENDS

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