AUSTRALIA COMMITS NEW LONG-TERM SUPPORT TO FFA

Australian Assistant Minister for Agriculture Anne Ruston reaffirming Australian's commitment to FFA. Photo credit: FFA/2018/ Hoerder

FFA Press Release

RAROTONGA, 5 July 2018 — The Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is delighted to acknowledge the new long-term Partnership and related funding agreements agreed between the Agency and Australia.
The Director General of the FFA, James Movick and Australia’s Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Hon. Senator Anne Ruston, have today signed a new 10-year Partnership Agreement at the annual Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) meeting in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
In signing the new Partnership Agreement Director General Movick noted that Australia was both an active member and a strong participant and financial supporter across a wide range of key Agency activities.
“Our relationship with Australia is enduring and broad-based – Australia, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provides in excess of AUD 5 million in annual financial support and the great majority of this permits us to make budgetary allocations in a very flexible way towards our highest priorities” stated Mr Movick. “Separate funding is also dedicated to advancing implementation of the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement which promotes interoperability, information exchange and collective regional actions against illegal fishing.”
DG Movick that that this Australian Partnership assistance to FFA is separate from the substantial funding that Australia also provides to FFA members through FFA for regional fisheries surveillance activities, including the new civilian air surveillance program under the Australian-funded Pacific Maritime Security Program.
“That Australian Defence funding of around AUD 15 million annually will enable FFA to deploy an additional 1400 hours of aerial surveillance through two dedicated King Air aircraft across the FFA region. This will not only be a major boost to our efforts to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, but it will enhance the overall security of our region through greater Maritime Domain Awareness.”
Mr Movick further noted that through the priorities identified within the FFA Annual Work Program, Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources participated actively in FFA’s regional fisheries management processes and is a recognised leader in promoting the Harvest Strategy approach towards the sustainable management of vital offshore tuna stocks.
The new 10 year Partnership agreement reflects this broad-based engagement.
Australia support for the agency reflects also the endorsement by Pacific Islands Leaders in 2015 of the Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries. The Roadmap identifies that the FFA member-country Pacific tuna fisheries are valued at around USD$2.6 billion, earning close to USD$500 million in access fees for Pacific island countries and providing 25,000 jobs. Sustainable fisheries offer one of the best opportunities to promote trade, strengthen government revenue and promote future food security within the region.
In his remarks Mr Movick also thanked Australia for its Chairmanship of the Forum Fisheries Committee over the past 12 months, with the baton now passed on to the Cook Islands. “Australia’s principled and enthusiastic chairmanship of the FFC again demonstrates the strong and unique sense of regionalism and collaboration that typifies our work within the fisheries sector. I thank Australia sincerely for its broad-based and enduring support.”

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
FFA was established to help their 17 member countries sustainably manage their fishery resources that fall within their 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA is an advisory body providing expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management through agencies such as the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). www.ffa.int