Tuvalu launches 4-year roadmap for fisheries

FUNAFUTI, TUVALU, SEPTEMBER 2010: After months of discussion, consultation, and planning, Tuvalu launched a roadmap for how to strengthen its fisheries institutions, manage and develop its fisheries and coordinate activities of government.

The smallest FFA member country, with only nine small atolls and islands and 11,000 people, Tuvalu’s fish are vital. Two out of three households go out fishing for food, while licence fees for foreign vessels have formed 25-50% of the GDP.  However it faces a number of challenges including sea rise due to climate change, the global economic crisis and low revenue from fishing compared to foreign profits (an estimated $9 million worth of fish was caught in 2009, while licence fees were only 5 % of this).

To counter these problems, Tuvalu needs strong institutions that encourage local fisheries development, manage the tuna stocks and create sustainable economies. The Institutional Strengthening Scoping Study Report, drafted by Tuvalu’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Department of Fisheries and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency with support from the UNDP-GEF funded Oceanic Fisheries Management Project, is a roadmap for how to do this over a period of four years.

The roadmap includes providing financial and technical resources to help the Department of Fisheries respond to the above institutional challenges through management and conservation that meets regional and international obligations and moves towards more effective and efficient fisheries that return greater revenue. It also includes key social issues such as cultural impact, gender, poverty reduction and environmental impact. Factors in the design to promote sustainability include continuous community input and measures taken to reduce staff turnover in the small island country.

The Tuvalu Government is now seeking funding support (AUD3.5 million) for the implementation of its 4-years Institutional Strengthening Programme. Some of the activities under the programme will be provided by FFA while others will be funded from other sources, including bi-lateral funding.

The Acting Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment (MNE), Faatasi Malologa officially launched the ISP. He said: “This program as we all see it, is an answer to the many problem that the Department of Fisheries has been experiences in past years.  Tuvalu is vulnerable to the impact of climate change and global economic crisis.  In the Fisheries sector, Tuvalu seeks support to these vulnerabilities through institutional strengthening in the Fisheries Department and the delivery of services and contributions to building domestic fisheries within sustainable limits.’

“Under its new fisheries policy, the Government will explore alternative means to ensure revenue earned is proportion to the true value of tunas that are taken out of our fisheries waters.  While carrying out these options, the Government is mindful of conservation measures and the need to consider and ensure ecosystem and precautionary principles are upheld.’

“The Institutional Strengthening is of critical importance to our national capacity building, especially with respects to human resources development, enhancement of conservation and management measures within our EEZ with emphasis on sustainable development, fisheries management planning, technical development and coastal fisheries management and legislation to strengthen regulation and surveillance systems. On behalf of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and also on behalf of the Government of Tuvalu, I like to convey our sincere thanks and heartfelt appreciation to the FFA for the great assistance rendered in the formulation of this very important document.”


The Director-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) N.F. Tanielu Su’a said: “FFA is pleased to note the progress of Tuvalu in creating this roadmap for sustainable fisheries and to support its efforts with this critical document. This assistance is part of our goal of helping members achieve food security and local development and their commitment to the Millenium Development Goals.”