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Common Oceans - A partnership for sustainability in the ABNJ

FFA hosts Pacific-Global Zone-based Tuna Fisheries Management Knowledge Exchange with support from OPP

8 March 2018

13-15 February 2018 | Honiara, Solomon Islands. Lamine Camara, Director of Fisheries for Mauritania, was the first representative from Mauritania to visit the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in Honiara, Solomon Islands when he arrived in February this year. Joining him on the occasion were an additional 20 international delegates who all gathered at the FFA premises to participate in a Pacific - Global Zone-based Tuna Fisheries Management Exchange. The Exchange was hosted by FFA to provide an opportunity for representatives of developing coastal States from around the globe with an interest in tuna fisheries to visit the Pacific and learn first-hand of the successes and challenges in tuna fisheries management encountered in the Pacific Ocean.

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Pacific-Global Zone-based Tuna Fisheries Management Knowledge
Exchange delegates from Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau,
India, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles,
Tanzania, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and
representatives of World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International,
pictured with FFA, PNA and SPC staff © FFA

The gathering was supported by the Common Oceans ABNJ Ocean Partnerships Project (OPP), which provides funding from the Global Environment Fund (GEF) through FFA to conduct knowledge sharing and inter-regional cooperation with developing coastal States and other stakeholders globally. 

Over the course of the three-day event, participants examined and discussed the "Pacific model" for fisheries cooperation. There was a focus on how zone-based management arrangements have been introduced in the FFA region and used to gain control of the fishery by coastal states, thereby reaping substantially increased benefits. FFA staff and resource people from the Office of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and the Pacific Community described the long history of cooperation, the key outputs (programs and platforms for cooperation) and the main outcomes (social, economic and environmental benefits) that have been achieved in the FFA region.

A total of twenty-one delegates participated in the exchange, including representatives from national and regional fisheries agencies and fisheries programs in Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, India, Sri Lanka, St Kitts and Nevis, Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Tanzania, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, as well as representatives from the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International.

The Exchange was part of FFA's ongoing program that seeks mutual benefits from greater collaboration with developing coastal States around the world. Mutual benefits that accrued from the Exchange and are expected to expand in the future included:

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FFA Director-General James T Movick © FFA
  • for other developing coastal States – a working example of cooperation in fisheries management, development and enforcement and the ability to leverage lessons learned through trial and error here;
  • for FFA members – a greater appreciation around the globe of the zone-based cooperative model employed by FFA.  This is growing more important as oceans and fisheries related issues gain more prominence on the global agenda.  This greater understanding benefits FFA members because it should lead to better support for FFA positions and approaches from other coastal States around the world; and
  • for all parties – gaining different perspectives about how to deal with similar issues in the management of highly migratory fish stocks.

It was noted that many of the 'lessons learned' from the Exchange does not only apply to tuna fisheries, but also to other cross boundary demersal stocks, and for the introduction and use of monitoring, control and surveillance technologies.

In welcoming the participants and opening the Exchange FFA Director- General, Mr James Movick provided an overview of regional tuna fisheries management in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) and described the concept of "Zone-based Management" and how the Pacific small Island developing states (SIDS) have implemented it.

In his remarks, Mr Movick said that the region is "more strongly asserting our rights in what used to be a completely distant-water flag-state fishery. Pacific nations have given themselves a much bigger bite of revenues from the global tuna sandwich. We want to share this knowledge to assess what lessons are transferable to other developing regions – and learn from the unique experiences that others bring to our table."

He also said that the importance of tuna to Pacific SIDS is illustrated by fisheries revenues making up more than 40% of public revenue in five countries, providing 25,000 jobs in the region and contributing to food security and development opportunities. At the global scale the 2016 WCPO tuna catch of 2.6 million tonnes represented around 60% of the global tuna catch and was worth $5.2 billion. In turn, around 60% of this WCPO catch is from FFA waters.

Tuna provide substantial economic opportunities for FFA members, including the contribution to DP through access fees, domestic fleet development, onshore processing jobs and export income, but today only 30% of fish caught in members' exclusive economic zones is being taken by local fleets and only 10% is landed for processing.

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Sunil Sweenarain of OIC, left, and Roy Clarisse of
Seychelles exchanging ideas © FFA
FFA Legal Counsel, Manu Tupou-Roosen makes a point
with Senegal-based, Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission
delegates © FFA
A plenary session of the exchange © FFA

Mr Ludwig Kumoru, CEO of the PNA shared how the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) has been a "game-changer in the sustainable management of tuna resources." He continued saying, "The VDS put a cap on the number of days that fishing vessels can operate in our waters, and steadily ramped up the cost of access so that the PNA members receive a fairer share of revenues. Before the VDS came into being there was no proper valuation placed on the fishery and we were at the mercy of foreign interests. That has all changed." 

The OPP is one of the four Projects of the GEF-funded Common Oceans ABNJ Program that, under the World Bank lead, is supporting public and private sector investment in better managed fisheries targeting migratory stocks that straddle developing countries' coastal jurisdictions and areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ).

For more information about the Pacific-Global Zone-based Tuna Fisheries Management Knowledge Exchange, please contact:

  • Peter Cusack, Regional Coordinator - Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program | peter.cusack@ffa.int
GEF World Bank Common Oceans FFA