AUSTRALIA - Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, is in Honiara this week to meet with Pacific Island Fisheries Ministers and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
Senator Colbeck said strong regional partnerships are essential to ensuring a sustainable future for key fisheries across the Pacific and this trip would reinforce Australia’s commitment to the region.
“The Australian Government works closely with our Pacific Island neighbours to cooperatively manage tuna stocks throughout the Pacific,” he said.
“Pacific fisheries play an important role in the economies of many Pacific Island states so it is vital we all recognise that consistent and coordinated fisheries management is critical to ensuring that these vital resources remain sustainable and available to future generations,” he said.
“Australian fisheries are recognised as being among the best managed in the world. We are committed to ensuring Australia’s fisheries remain sustainable and underpinned by good science and part of this involves sharing our experience with our regional neighbours.”
Australia’s Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery and Eastern Skipjack Fishery rely on migratory tuna stocks fished throughout the Pacific by both Pacific fleets and distant water fleets.
Sustainable management of our shared stocks underpins Australian supply and the success of our domestic fishers in Australia’s A$1.4 billion commercial wild caught fishing industry.
The Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery is one of Australia’s most valuable Commonwealth fisheries, with a gross value in 2012–13 of A$24.8 million.
Senator Colbeck said this trip will be an opportunity to learn from Pacific nations, share the science and fisheries management framework that supports Australian fisheries and to improve the sustainability of regional fisheries into the future.
Australia provides A$5 million annually to the FFA in core funding and has recently committed an additional A$2.4 million over three years through the Global Partnerships for Development programme to assist FFA members to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing.
Senator Colbeck will attend fisheries meetings in Honiara, Solomon Islands, from 30 March to 1 April.
Mr James Movick, Director General of the FFA, will host the meeting, which also includes primary industries Ministers from Fiji, Palau, Niue, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands.
TheFishSite News Desk