Vanuatu Minister at FFC98 in Port Vila: Fisheries management must ensure sustainability, maximum benefits of tuna resources.
The text below provides the core statement of the Hon. Matai Seremaiah, Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries & Biosecurity, as he opened the 98th session of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee, in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
All 15 member countries of the FFA are here in Port Vila for the FFC98 which ends this Friday.
May I first of all, on behalf of the Government and people of Vanuatu, say Warm greetings and welcome to Port Vila.
It is with great honor that I as Minister responsible for Fisheries be present with you today and address you on the occasion for the opening of this very important one week meeting of the 98th Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) Officials Meeting. Before I proceed to open the meeting, I would like to make a few remarks.
Fisheries or the tuna fishery in the Pacific continues to play an important role, contributing significantly to national economies and food security for our people. To continue enjoying these benefits into the future, it requires a continuous commitment to improve and strengthen our management measures. Your meeting this week is evident of this commitment and collaboration to ensure long-term sustainable utilization of this imperative resource.
You have a range of important agenda items to cover this week, noting that you will not only discuss sustainable management of the tuna resources but also the development aspects and how we as custodians of the resource in the Pacific can maximize returns from this resource. Just to highlight some important areas that you will deliberate on this week. To encourage the meeting on finding ways for the sustainable management of the Southern Albacore fishery, to continue to find ways to ensure the US Treaty negotiations continue...
Crewing on fishing vessels in my view is another area and I urge the FFA Secretariat to work with members to develop this. Establishing monitoring mechanisms that will assist to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU and domestic development remains our long term plan to ensure maximization and sustainability.
In our endeavor to achieve these, I call upon you to maintain the regional solidarity of FFA but recognizing the development aspirations of each members; to work with our development partners in fisheries such as the Distant-water fishing nations and the WCPFC as the Commission for the management of tuna resource in the Pacific.
As some tuna resources become scarce, pressure for management will increase. We as FFA are small island developing states with limited resources. The challenges we have include increased fishing pressure, IUU and other related issues such as climate change. Given this scenario, the world of fisheries management needs to go beyond a straight line fisheries management approach, and I urge the meeting to investigate options of fisheries management that will ensure sustainability and maximization.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Management of Iririki Island Resort for your tremendous assistance to assist Vanuatu to host this important meeting and congratulate the management for re-opening of the resort last Friday after more than one year of closure due to Tropical Cyclone Pam impacts.
To conclude, May I take this opportunity to wish you all the best of luck in your deliberations throughout this meeting.
With these short remarks, I now declare the 98th FFC Officials Meeting Open.