FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
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Working together to improve small-scale tuna fisheries in the Pacific

03/02/2020 Nadi, Fiji

The project Enhancing livelihoods and food security through fisheries with nearshore fish aggregating devices in the Pacific is supporting seven Pacific Island countries - Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. An inception workshop for the project was held in Nadi, Fiji (3-6 February) and brought together around 45 participants comprised of representatives of national fisheries agencies and fishers from countries under the project, as well as project partners.

This FAO project, funded by the Government of Japan, will strengthen the contribution of small-scale tuna fisheries to food and nutrition security and improve associated livelihoods. The project focuses on the safe development of nearshore fish aggregation device (FAD) fisheries, supported by co-management approaches as well as value adding and alternative livelihoods to diversity income sources.

The workshop was officially opened by the Minister for Fisheries in Fiji, Honourable Semi Koroilavesau who emphasized the important role of fisheries in the Pacific, with fish and seafood being a cornerstone of food security. He encouraged participants to draw upon the valuable experiences and knowledge gained over the years to ensure the sustainability of nearshore FAD programmes, including the strengthening of small-scale fisheries governance as well as enhancing livelihood opportunities and safety at sea.

There are four main areas of the project: to strengthen nearshore fish aggregating device (FAD) programmes, strengthen fishers’ associations and cooperatives, promote alternative livelihood activities and improve safety at sea for small-scale tuna fishers. FAO is the lead implementing agency and will be working closely with countries and expert partners from the region and Japan who have played a key role in the development of the fisheries sector in the Pacific and in particularly in the areas covered by the project.

First Secretary and Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Japan in Fiji, Mr Taisuke Iwano recognized the challenges of ensuring the sustainable development of fisheries and anticipated that this project will greatly complement ongoing capacity development of fisheries in the region. 

Over the four days of the workshop, project partners and countries to discussed and agreed on priority activities and workplans for implementation at the national and regional level. In-depth discussions on two of the project areas - nearshore FAD programmes and safety at sea - were held. The project will allow for collaboration and knowledge sharing within and beyond the region and will also employ expertise from the Caribbean region who has similar small-scale tuna fisheries to contribute to knowledge sharing in the different areas of the project.

FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, Ms Eriko Hibi closed the workshop noting that, “The underlying purpose of the project is empowerment - for fishers, communities and countries. FAO is pleased to work with Japan to support fishing communities, develop livelihood opportunities and improve sea safety for fishers in the region.”

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and recent tropical cyclones that have badly affected many of the project countries, FAO is now engaging in discussions with countries on immediate support needed to address food security and livelihood needs that align to the areas of the project.