Vanuatu calls on new FFC chair to uphold strength through regionalism, unity

Vanuatu has urged the incoming chair of the Forum Fisheries Ministers Committee, Australia to continue collaborating with members and partners to achieve solutions that would address the region’s challenges.

Speaking on behalf of Vanuatu Fisheries Minister Matai Seremaiah Nawalu at the FFC meeting, Vanuatu’s High Commissioner to Australia, Kalfau Kaloris said last year was a challenging one but there were some highlights.

The minister acknowledged that Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) continues to improve its performances and is better responding to the needs of its members in all aspects of fisheries management and developments.

The recommitment of FFA Leaders to fisheries and the successful negotiations on the continuance of the US Treaty is another achievement.

Minister Seremaiah said IUU fishing continues to be a threat to the sustainability of regional fisheries and while progress has been made in some areas of illegal fishing more remains to be done.

“The influx of Vietnamese Blue Boats blatantly encroaching in our region pose new challenges for FFA and its members in the fight against this type of IUU fishing. While tuna fisheries takes premeditated focus, coastal fisheries is equally significant to the livelihoods of our peoples, and the negative impacts of illegal fishing activities thereof, must be carefully addressed as well,” he said. 

“Putting long line fisheries under effective control is another challenge and while the Tokelau arrangement is an important step for controlling related fishing activities in the southern region, the negotiation of a balanced catch management arrangement is still far from over and we are extremely confident that negotiations can be concluded over this next period in implementing a suitable and robust regional mechanism in protecting our marine resources and maximizing more economic returns from albacore resources.” 

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Ann Ruston has assumed Australia's Chair of the Forum Fisheries Ministers Committee.

Fisheries ministers from across the Pacific have converged on Mooloolaba, Queensland to meet about the future of critical tuna fisheries.


Photo file: Vanuatu Fisheries Minister Matai Seremaiah Nawalu