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FFA Members agree on management options for Pacific Tuna Fishery

HONIARA, 13th November 2023 – In a series of meetings convened at the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) recently, FFA Members have agreed on management options for the region's multi-million dollar Tuna Fishery.

FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen noted that the management options consultation is the meeting in which FFA Members discuss and agree on key management approaches to ensure the future prosperity of the Western Central Pacific Tuna Fishery.

“We derive our collective strength through cooperation. The collaborative efforts of FFA Members ensures the long term sustainability of fisheries resources for the benefit of Pacific communities and economies,”said Dr Tupou-Roosen.

FFA Members:addressed the following key priorities:

  • Climate Change: FFA Members emphasised the urgent need to address climate change impacts in the Pacific region, which pose a significant threat to the livelihoods, security, and well-being of its people. FFA Members called for the development of effective tuna harvest strategies resilient to ecosystem changes and urged stronger recognition of climate change within the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission's work.
  • Tropical Tuna Measure: FFA Members supported a precautionary approach in the review of the Tropical Tuna Measure, aiming to maintain the balance between the interests of fishing and coastal State members. Noteworthy proposals included restricting purse seine effort on the high seas and addressing the growing impact of other commercial fisheries in places like Indonesia.
  • South Pacific Albacore: FFA Members sought to revise the South Pacific Albacore interim Target Reference Point to help in the development of the South Pacific Albacore Management Procedure. A target reference point is critical in signalling where FFA Members want this fishery to be; and ensure that the biological, economic and social objectives of the fishery are met.
  • Compliance Monitoring Scheme: FFA Members expressed concerns regarding the operation of the Compliance Monitoring Scheme (CMS), emphasising the need to address imbalances in the CMS operation between purse seine and longline obligations. They emphasised cooperation towards compliance and prioritised addressing audit points.
  • Transhipment: FFA Members prioritised the review of the transhipment measure, emphasising the importance of bringing transhipment to port, enhancing monitoring, and improving cooperation between relevant authorities.This will ensure there is a better understanding of how many fish are caught.
  • Labour Standards: FFA Members underscored the importance of crew labour standards and supported the development of a binding Conservation and Management Measure on Labour Standards, with a focus on effective implementation, monitoring, and enforcement.

The series of meetings culminated in the endorsement of key positions by the FFA governing body, the Forum Fisheries Committee. These form the basis of FFA positions to the 20th session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 4 to 8 December 2023.

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