Fisheries Ministers set course for the future of Pacific tuna fisheries

by FFA Media | 21 June 2019 | Media releases

Skipjack tuna caught in a purse-seine net. Photo: Undercurrent News.

POHNPEI, 21 June 2019 – This week, Pacific fisheries Ministers and senior government representatives met in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia to progress work that will ensure the region’s major offshore resource – tuna – is not only managed well and sustainably, but continues to provide the social and economic benefits for our Pacific people.

Ministers and senior representatives chartered the course for the future of regional tuna fisheries.  Notable outcomes endorsed at the conclusion of the 16th Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) Ministers meeting are: 

  • Affirmed climate change as the single greatest threat to the security of the region and a clear directive to work on adaptive and robust management regimes to respond to the impacts of climate change.
  • Agreed a Regional Longline Strategy to establish zone-based limits for longline fishing within Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and to limit longline fishing activity on the high seas. 
  • Enhanced protection of the rights of crew on fishing vessels against human rights abuses at sea, including commitment to apply new conditions to domestic as well as foreign vessels.
  • Supported the challenge from RMI’s President for an IUU Free Pacific by 2023 and welcomed FSM’s leadership on electronic monitoring and Technology for Tuna Transparency (T3)
  • Engaged in negotiations to ban harmful fisheries subsidies to deliver on the SDG Target 14.6, noting that any outcome should not unnecessarily constrain the ability of SIDS to develop their domestic fisheries.   
  • Welcomed and approved the new FFA Strategic Plan 2020-2025, developed in close consultation with Members, that sets out the vision, mission and outcomes for the Secretariat.

FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen said: “The outcomes are bold and far-reaching and reflect the strong guidance and leadership of our Ministers as well as the spirit of cooperation that binds us.

“The Secretariat will work closely with its members to deliver on these outcomes and looks forward to collaborating with our regional and international partners.”

Taking their cue from Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to establish an annual meeting to consider coastal fisheries and ocean issues related to fisheries, Ministers held a Special Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting. At this meeting, Ministers endorsed their terms of reference for consideration by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their meeting in August.

“The Special Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting that took place yesterday provided an excellent platform for non-tuna and broader fisheries-related matters to be discussed,” said Dr. Tupou-Roosen.

Discussions focused on coastal fisheries and aquaculture issues; climate change and its impact on Pacific fisheries; as well as emerging environmental issues and their impact on fisheries, including marine litter, mercury levels in fish and ingestion of plastic.

At the end of the two fisheries meetings, Dr. Tupou-Roosen commended Ministers of the progress made. She said: “Our Members have demonstrated their keen commitment to progress on our shared goals to make an enduring positive difference on the lives of our Pacific people.”


The FFC 16th Ministerial Meeting Outcomes document or Communique can be viewed and downloaded here. For more information and photos contact Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, ph: +691 920 7189

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management.

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