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Forum Fisheries Ministers sign off on key climate report

HONIARA, 26 June 2019 – Fisheries Ministers attending the 16th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial Meeting in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, last week signed off on a key report – the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of Living Oceanic Resources by the Small Island Developing States of the Western and Central Pacific (the Strategic Action Programme or SAP) – for submission to the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The Strategic Action Programme is the culmination of two years of work undertaken with the support of the GEF under the FFA-implemented Pacific Island Oceanic Fisheries Management Project II. The SAP outlines a clear set of priority actions to address issues identified in a situational analysis study of regional oceanic fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific, the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), which was completed and endorsed by FFC Officials in 2018.

“The signing in support of the SAP by our respective members’ Ministers is yet another fine example of regional cooperation at its best” said FFA Director General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen. “The SAP demonstrates our common agreement on the key oceanic fisheries issues faced by the region and how we can take action to address them.”

“GEF support has played a significant role in providing strategic assistance to FFA Members in addressing oceanic fisheries challenges in the framework of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the region is very thankful for this support to date. We hope to see this support sustained as we continue to address these challenges and protect our fisheries resources for future generations to come,” she said.

Key issues to be addressed under the SAP include the impacts of climate change for the ecology and fisheries of the region and the subsequent implications for the socio-economic status, livelihoods and food security of Pacific peoples; the need for stronger and more resilient adaptive ecosystem-based management approach that can adjust rapidly to changing conditions through mechanisms such as harvest strategies and bycatch management including the use of fish aggregating devices; and supporting innovations in tackling Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Ministerial signoff of the SAP is a key step in the GEF process for the possible development of a follow up Pacific Regional Oceanic Fisheries Project to support Pacific Island countries tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

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