Bid to build capacity on tuna fisheries

former Deputy Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Ian Cartwright facilitates the tuna fisheries workshop in Suva. Picture: SUPPLIED

PACIFIC civil society and non-governmental organisations (CSOs and NGOs), over the next three days will engage in discussions in a bid to further strengthen and improve the level of awareness and understanding of Pacific tuna fisheries.

During this workshop in Suva, discussions will focus on regional oceanic fisheries governance, management and policy in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO).
This will see around 25 regional participants take part in discussions that will be facilitated by former deputy director general of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Ian Cartwright.

According to WWF-Pacific’s sustainable fisheries and seafood programme manager, Duncan Williams, the CSO roundtable discussions will further build capacity of Pacific CSOs and NGOs on the current environment, economic and social issues related policy and institutional arrangements for managing Pacific tuna fisheries, to also identify challenges faced by participating organisations in engaging with the tuna fisheries sector.

“Participation of non-governmental interests in international fisheries management processes tend to come only from developed countries,” Mr Williams said in a statement.

“This to a certain degree disadvantages Pacific countries and communities where civil society does not have the resources or technical understanding of the fishery and its management and this workshop is one of several initiatives by WWF-Pacific aimed at ensuring that Pacific Island NGOs and CSOs improve their capacity and awareness on issues and management arrangements in order to engage effectively in regional oceanic fisheries policy.”

The discussions is set to enhance awareness and understanding of  the  network  of  fisheries  management arrangements in the Pacific and opportunities for engagement by Pacific Island nationals including NGOs.

Discussions will also enhance the understanding of participants of the current status of oceanic fisheries, fisheries  management  issues,  and  the  importance  of maintaining  healthy  marine  ecosystems,  with  an  emphasis  on  fish  stocks  and habitats.

According to WWF-Pacific’s sustainable fisheries and seafood policy officer Seremaia Tuqiri, participants will identify information, training, gaps and other (capacity) needs of NGOs and CSOs to support involvement in offshore fisheries policy engagement at the national and/or regional level and development of a training plan.

The workshop will see the training on policy analysis for CSOs and NGOs in the fisheries sector aimed at strengthening current engagement capacities to effectively contribute to both national and regional policy development processes and dialogues for effective formulation and implementation of public policy in the fisheries sector.

The training will enhance the ability of NGOs representatives primarily working on fisheries-related policy issues by delivering a comprehensive yet simple and practical approach to evaluating policies and developing policy position submissions that will be facilitated by Dr Desmond Amosa, a public policy consultant.

Mr Tuqiri added that the forum encompassed not just the management of the tuna fishery which is primarily focused on science and technical compliance, but was also intended to address social injustice issues.

“Tuna is a resource that has economic, biological, social and cultural significance to the people of the Pacific Islands. The discussions are intended to provide an opportunity for learning and exchange of views, experiences and ideas,” he said.

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