DEVFISH II project of EU funded $10 million USD underway to develop fisheries in Pacific Islands

HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS, 14 MARCH 2011: The European Union (EU), Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have commenced the DEVFISH II project to provide national and regional assistance to Pacific Island fisheries.

Under DEVFISH II, the EU will provide a total funding of 8 million Euros (10 million USD) for fisheries development and control of illegal fishing.

The Development of Tuna Fisheries in the Pacific ACP Countries Project (DEVFISH) is a European Union funded regional project, aims to give Pacific Islands a fairer slice of economic benefits from tuna fishing. DEVFISH II, jointly administered by FFA and SPC, will over 5 years provide 8.2 million Euros worth of assistance for two broad purposes -
fisheries development and control of illegal fishing.

Pacific Island countries need technical assistance and policy change to increase local industry development to create economic growth while increasing local jobs and food security. For example, Pacific Island countries catch just $200 million worth of tuna from its fisheries while foreign nations fishing in the same waters catch over $2 billion. Meanwhile, estimates of lost potential earnings from illegal fishing range from the millions to over a billion. By focusing its efforts on increasing control of illegal fishing and maximising local
opportunities for business and employment, DEVFISH will make a significant impact on Pacific Island economies.

Assistance under DEVFISH will include:
.       NATIONAL FISHERIES DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES. The project will continue to implement 3 existing action plans, and to develop new national plans to outline and enable sustainable fisheries management.
.       TRANSPARENCY & INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT. Assistance will find new ways to strengthen industry associations and artisanal fishers' representation in decision making, and provide training and advice on fishing access agreements and licenses to national government staff.
.       COMPETANT AUTHORITIES. To export fish to the EU, countries need an EU-approved 'Competent Authority' to certify fish exports meet EU export standards. Support will be provided for meeting requirements associated with sanitary inspection and EU catch certification (which contain requirements to certify fish is not caught illegally).
.       EXPORT EXPANSION: Training and expertise to expand exports within sustainable limits will be provided - such as training fishing companies to improve vessels and fish handling practices.
.       FISHING COMPANY GROWTH: Focusing on small and medium enterprises, DEVFISH will provide training and technical assistance with a focus on strengthening management and filling skill shortages constraining growth and profitability, within sustainable limits.
.       PILOTING NEW TECHNOLOGIES: Projects may include trials of palm oil as boiler fuel in processing plants, the trial of other clean technologies, and replacement of 2-stroke with 4-stroke engines for artisanal fisheries.