OFCF, FFA annual funding meet reaches ten-year, US10m milestone

Joint FFA-OFCF Release-- Wed 1 March 2017, FFA HQ, SOLOMON ISLANDS In a move that will help strengthen Pacific tuna fisheries, cooperation between the Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation of Japan (OFCF) and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) was reaffirmed during negotiations in Honiara over the past three days.  
Representatives of the Foundation, met with their FFA counterparts to discuss a range of existing and new projects in the fisheries sector - with an important difference. 
A key focus of the discussions this year was on arrangements for a possible successor program, noting that the current ten year program, totalling an estimated US10m over the last decade, will reach its conclusion and the end of 2018. This represented a major milestone in the cooperation between the OFCF and the FFA membership. 
The meeting agreed to recommend a successor program be established. 
During the talks both parties agreed that the sustainable management of the region’s tuna resources was an enduring and high priority for the region. Projects funded under the program include assistance with maritime delimitation, fisheries observer training, economic analysis and trade negotiation, investment advice and certified training opportunities for FFA and member country staff. Several new proposals in these areas were endorsed for the 2017/18 year. 
“It is the firm desire of the FFA membership to continue the cooperation in the fisheries sector supported by this relationship with the OFCF, through the Japan Promotion Fund, or JPF, since 2008,” says FFA Director General James Movick, “the activities and project supported by this relationship have helped to achieve major momentum and recognition for Fisheries as a revenue-generating source for our members.” 
“This has been endorsed at the highest level by our Pacific Leaders in 2015, with the Roadmap and annual report cards for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries. The maturity and impact of the JPF program as it looks back on this decade, has shown continued emphasis from both sides for frank discussion and genuine cooperation.” 
Representatives from Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand and Vanuatu joined Director General James Movick and senior officers of the Forum Fisheries Agency met this week in Honiara. Japan’s delegation was headed by the OFCF Vice-President Mr. Kiyotaka Takahashi.
The Japan Promotion Fund, established by OFCF for FFA member countries in 2008, generates project funding for FFA members of approximately USD $1 million annually. This supports fisheries projects for FFA island member countries. The JPF Joint Committee, a representative group of senior officials from FFA member countries and OFCF agrees on which projects receive funding support in any given year. 
The OFCF has been working since 1973 to build relations between Japan and other coastal countries, including support for the work of regional fisheries management organisations such as FFA. The OFCF is a cooperative arrangement between the Japanese Government and the Japanese fishing industry.—ENDS