FFA High Level Delegation in Fiji this week

SUVA, THURSDAY 17 JULY 2008: A high level delegation from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) met with Fijian leaders this week to discuss Fijian fisheries.

The FFA Director General Su'a N.F. Tanielu, accompanied by a compliance adviser, development adviser and legal officer from the Agency, met Fijian Government Ministers and Officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Primary Industries in Suva yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss Fiji's national priorities for fisheries and how FFA can assist with expertise, services and other support. Meetings with tuna industry representatives will take place today.

This high level delegation is one of a series of meetings between senior officials from FFA and member countries to discuss how FFA can provide advice and assistance to further national interests and priorities in managing and developing tuna fisheries. The high level talks are an important part of FFA's ongoing efforts to increase national capacity and strengthen regional solidarity so that member countries can manage their fisheries for the benefit of people today and for future generations.

FFA provided information about fish prices and economic issues to the Fijian Government to assist them in decision making about industry development. As Fiji is a major trading partner with Europe, FFA also sought Fiji's views on progress with fisheries aspects of the Economic Partnership Agreement and market access. FFA and Fiji discussed what assistance FFA could provide to restore EU market access for Fiji, including provision of assistance to their Competent Authority for seafood exports.

The Ministry of Primary Industries and Fisheries identified a number of areas in which FFA could assist. These included: a study of institutional strengthening requirements of the Fisheries Department; a review of the national Tuna Development and Management Plan; a review of Fiji Fisheries legislation; further training for observers and their deployment on US multilateral treaty vessels; and technical support with the Vessel Monitoring System.

FFA extended its thanks to the Fijian Government for their input into shaping the priorities for its in-country assistance to Fiji, one of the 17 members of FFA. A high level FFA delegation visited Tuvalu last week, where the delegation coincided with the launch of a new Fisheries Development Master Plan and discussed upcoming bilateral negotiations and WCPFC5 issues. FFA's next high level FFA delegation is to Tonga.