PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the key behind any ocean policy, planning and management system, including that for fisheries, is the degree of political will and commitment to implement such a system.
Sogavare highlighted this during the opening of the FFA Ministerial Meeting on the Evaluation of the Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance, and Compliance Regime in Honiara on Wednesday.
However, he believes leaders have demonstrated that political will with the understanding that there is more to gain in the regional approach to addressing these issues.
Sogavare told the visiting officials from Foreign Affairs, Fisheries, Finance and Surveillance ministers from Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, RMI, Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu that over the next two days, you will have the opportunity to evaluate regional system in detail.
“You will see the FFA regional surveillance picture, visit a regional surveillance operation in which some of your nationals are participating and receive briefings on a number of recent studies and reviews- including two that have been carried out in the last few weeks mainly to inform your meeting.
“We hope that this will give you a comprehensive view of how the tuna fishery MCS system works – from observers on the fishing boats to satellites tracking the vessels – providing what is often described as a ‘world class’ system,” he said.
Sogavare said it is also a system that FFA are working constantly to improve – and you will hear of some of these plans; including replacement of their aging fleet of fisheries patrol vessels that will be supported by Australia.
By EDDIE OSIFELO