UNDER Secretary Technical of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) has highlighted the country’s key issues of interest in this year’s Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Nadi, Monday.
Ferral Lasi, in his country statement at the official opening of the thirteenth WCPFC meeting, said some of the critical issues on the agenda need decisive action to be taken during this Commission meeting.
“The Solomon Islands believes that the Commission needs to take strong action on the following critical issues:
- Radical management initiatives are needed to address the severely overfished Northern Bluefin tuna fishery. The current status of this stock is an embarrassment to this Commission and an indictment on the Northern Committee.
- A new (CMM to give greater protection to the health and safety of our observers is urgently needed. The Solomon Islands is very concerned at the unmanaged risks being faced by observers.
- Progress needs to be made on the development of Harvest Strategies for all tuna species. Solomon Islands places a high priority for the development of Harvest Strategies for Skipjack Tuna and Southern Albacore tuna. Agreement on a target reference point for Southern Albacore and risk levels for all tuna species at this year’s meeting would signal real progress.
- Solomon Island sees the need to progress the reform of the Compliance Management Scheme (CMS) as absolutely critical. We believe the existing CMS is not as effective or efficient as it could be and most importantly we believe that it is unfair to SIDS.
- An agreement on the process to develop bridging CMMs for both the Tropical Tunas and Southern Albacore will be critical the future success of the Commission.
He added the Solomon Islands is committed to constructively working with all members to achieve outcomes on these critical issues and on other agenda items.
“Solomon Islands re-affirms its commitment to the Commission to ensuring long term sustainability of highly migratory species through the effective implementation of WCPFC CMMs.
“In-line with this commitment and as part of the PNA plus Tokelau initiative we would like to inform the Commission that we are implementing the long-line VDS in our national waters as of 1st Jan 2017,” Mr Lasi added.
He further stated that the key components of the long-line VDS are e- reporting and e-monitoring.
“We are confident that these developments will not only enhance compliance monitoring and data quality for science but also improve long-line fishery management as a whole.
“The Solomon Islands looks forward to the day when the Commission implements compatible long-line measures for the High Seas,” Mr Lasi stated.
Meanwhile, he on behalf of the county also acknowledged the work of the Chair and WCPFC Secretariat who have so ably directed the work of the Commission over the last 12 months and expressesa sincere appreciation and thanks to the government of Fiji as host for WCPFC13 in terms of background preparatory work, organizing, and arranging for the meeting.
The WCPFC13 is a week-long meeting and will end this Friday.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA
in Nadi, Fiji