JAPAN and members of the Forum Fisheries Agency have agreed to sustain targeted cooperation in the fisheries sector within the Pacific Islands region.
Senior Fisheries officials from Tuvalu and Kiribati together with Director General James Movick and senior officers of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) met this week in Honiara with a high-level team from the Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation of Japan (OFCF) and Fisheries Agency of Japan. The delegation was headed by Mr Tomofumi Kume, OFCF Senior Vice President.
Discussion focused on the review of progress to date and on new development funding for regional fisheries in the 2016/17 year.
The talks fall under the Japan Promotion Fund (JPF) agreement with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, FFA.
“We very much welcome the sustained engagement by OFCF in the development of regional fisheries capacity and in the priority that OFCF places on its fisheries relationship with FFA member countries” said FFA Director General, Mr. James Movick.
“We also welcome the continued participation of Japan in many aspects of the regional tuna fishery.”
Areas discussed and earmarked for cooperation included support for the analysis of industry trends in the tuna fishing and processing sector, the collection and verification of key statistics, support for training of fisheries observers, public information and outreach activities within the region, investment facilitation and maritime boundary delimitation between member country EEZ’s. Participants noted that JPF provides real benefits to FFA member countries and reflects also Japan’s long-standing commercial participation in the Pacific tuna fishery.
The Japan Promotion Fund, established by OFCF for FFA member countries in 2008, generates project funding for FFA members of approximately USD $1 million annually.
This supports fisheries projects for FFA island member countries. The JPF Joint Committee, a representative group of senior officials from FFA member countries and OFCF agrees on which projects receive funding support in any given year.
Mr. Movick noted that the Pacific region placed a very high emphasis on its fishing industries. This was reflected in the adoption by Pacific Leaders of the Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fs as agreed at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Port Moresby in September 2015.
Mr Kume noted that Japan and the region shared the common objective of sustainable utilization of the region’s valuable tuna resources.
Established in 1973, the OFCF works to build relations between Japan and other coastal countries, including support for the work of regional fisheries management organisations such as FFA. The Foundation is a cooperative arrangement between the Japanese Government and the Japanese fishing industry.
The two-day meeting of the Joint Committee (JC) began on Monday, February 15 at the FFA headquarters.
It examined proposals for upcoming projects for funding after July 2016, and reviewed current projects. Membership of the FFA member delegation to the meeting rotates each year and the recommendations go to the annual FFA governing council meeting, which is next scheduled to meet in Port Vila, Vanuatu in May 2016.