Perspectives on the Oceanic Fisheries Management Project

The Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP2) is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and carried out by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) for the benefit of the 14 Pacific Island states that are members of FFA.

The main goal of OFMP2 is for the fisheries of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean to be managed well so that fishing will remain sustainable. To achieve this, there needs to be systematic, permanent changes in fishing behaviour and related activity.

FFA supports sustainable fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific

FFA works with the 14 small island developing states (SIDS) of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, so that they can implement national, sub-regional and regional policies to care for their fisheries.

OFMP Fisheries Management Adviser David Power talks about why it’s so important to manage fisheries in the Pacific region. Sustainable management is possible with:

  • effective data collection and monitoring, so you know what is being caught and how much
  • effective regional management
  • effective surveillance, to identify illegal fishing vessels and apprehend them.

He gives examples of some of the great achievements that come about when nations work together (13 mins).

You can read in detail about FFA’s many and varied responsibilities in section 8 of the OFMP2 baseline report.

Conversations from the OFMP2 forum

Western and Central Pacific Ocean leaders who are involved in the tuna industry took part in an OFMP2 forum in 2017. In these videos from the forum, they cover the many issues the SIDS face in managing their tuna fisheries and the ocean environment.

Vanuatu’s Kalo Pakoa says that tuna fishing helps the people of his country maintain food security and contributes to livelihoods (1.23 mins).

Solomon Islands’ Ferral Lasi talks about his country meeting European Union regulations and increasing food security, capacity, trade access and exports (1.37 mins).

Tuvalu’s Nikolasi Apinelu talks about the need to matching levels of fishing against the numbers of fish. He covers both properly reported levels of fishing, and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (1.39 mins).

FSM’s Eugene Pangelinan talks about the economic importance of tuna fishing for his country. He says that for FSM to have a viable fishing industry, it needs to implement chain of custody and other arrangements so that tuna can be traced from catch to table. He also mentions the importance of regional cooperation (1.42 mins).

FFA’s Hugh Walton talks about the importance of tuna to the SIDS. He says that not only is tuna the key resource of the SIDS, it is also culturally very important for many states. He discusses the need of the SIDS to be able to sustain a regional presence so they can manage tuna effectively (2.17 mins).

John Maefiti of the Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association talks about the importance of also supporting the domestic tuna industry, and protecting tuna resources from regional overcapacity, too many vessels in the region taking too much fish (1.09 mins).

WWF’s Bubba Cook talks about overexploitation of tuna stocks, particularly Pacific bluefin tuna and bigeye tuna, which, he says, “are, essentially, on life support” (1.59 mins).

Samoa’s Magele Etuati Ropeti asks whether Samoa is creating a sustainable environment for using tuna resources, and whether it is being paid a high enough price for its tuna. The country needs to think about these questions in order to improve how it manages its tuna stocks (1.27 mins).

SPC’s John Hampton talks about SPC’s role in the OFMP2. He says that SPC supports the SIDS manage tuna fisheries in three ways: providing understanding of how climate change is affecting tuna and other important species, including bycatch species; developing technology that helps SIDS collect, manage and analyse data; and providing countries with scientific advice and analysis (1.59 mins).

Moses Amos, the Director of SPC’s Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, talks about the importance of OFMP2 allowing SPC to study the effects of climate change on fish stocks. This will allow SIDS to assess the health of tuna stocks, and to use that in conjunction with catch data to manage fisheries (1.47 mins).

David Vousden, Professor of Ocean Governance at the Rhodes University, South Africa, praises the OFMP2, which he describes as “as good a flagship as you can get” on managing and governing a large marine ecosystem where there are many different rules and regulations in place (1.11 mins).