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Pacific Islands

Tonga joins Pacific Group signing MOU on fisheries

Majuro, Marshall Islands

FFCMIN20 meeting
CEO for Tonga Ministry of Fisheries Dr. Tuikolongahau Halafihi signs the MOU. Majuro, Marshall Islands. 6 July 2023. Photo: MOF

The annual Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial 20 (FFCMIN20) and the Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting 4 (RFMM4) was held in Majuro, Marshall Islands, from 3-6 July.

A one-day meeting of the  Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC127) was held before the ministerial meetings, where members combined proposals and matters to be considered by ministers at the FFCMIN20 and the RFMM4 and their retreat on the final day of the meeting.

This year’s FFCMIN20 focused on areas to improve the management and development of the tuna fisheries resources and the fisheries waters of its members.

The RFMM4 meeting concentrated on regional and national activities related to coastal fisheries and aquaculture. CROPS partners collaboring in this meeting included SPC, FFA, PIFS, and SPREP.

Tonga delegation

The Tonga delegation was headed by CEO for Ministry of Fisheries, Dr. Tuikolongahau Halafihi, with Deputy CEO for Fisheries Compliance Division, Mele Atuekaho, and Senior Fisheries Officer, Makeleta Mahe.

Dr Halafihi signed the MOU by South Pacific Group (SPG) on behalf of the government of Tonga, witnessed by the Minister.

The MOU’s immediate areas of interest is the management of the southern longline fishery, with a particular focus on South Pacific albacore tuna.

This fishery stretches across the exclusive economic zones of SPG members, who work with the broader Pacific FFA membership, on proposals to improve the management of albacore tuna within the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

The meeting was also an opportunity for Dr Halafihi and the Director General for FFA, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen to sign the Country Partnership Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Tonga and the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).

The CPA is designed to provide guidance to FFA and Tonga on the offshore fisheries priorities that was produced from national and strategic plans including what tasks have to be done and the sharing of responsibility.

The agreement will also act to facilitate delivery of offshore fisheries outputs (including services provided by the Secretariat) in a coordinated manner.

In doing so, it will assist members, the Secretariat and other offshore fisheries stakeholders to achieve the specific outcomes that they have enumerated in national and regional strategic plans.