Australia, Niue and Solomons join Pacific Fisheries Surveillance Treaty

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Strengthening national capacity and regional solidarity for sustainable tuna fisheries

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Tokelau hosts historic boost for Pacific Fisheries Surveillance Treaty

Australia, Niue, Solomon Islands add signatures to NTSA

Wednesday 2 July, FFA FFCMIN10, Atafu, Tokelau—Australia, Niue and the Solomon Islands have signed on to the Pacific’s milestone Fisheries Surveillance Treaty, signalling a new push of endorsement for regional solidarity against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

While attending the 10th Fisheries Ministerial this week in Atafu, Tokelau, Parliamentary Secretary to the Australian Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck today signed the Multilateral Subsidiary Arrangement to the Niue Treaty or multilateral NTSA. Taking their place at the table beside Australia to sign the NTSA were Niue’s Fisheries Minister Billy Graham Talagi and the outgoing FFC Chair, Solomon Islands Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Alfred Ghiro.

Ulu Faipule Kuresa Nasau of Tokelau, Senator Richard Colbeck of Australia, Minister Billy Graham Talagi of Niue, and Solomon Islands Minister Alfred Ghiro, with FFA Director General James Movick looking on.

Ulu Faipule Kuresa Nasau of Tokelau, Senator Richard Colbeck of Australia, Minister Billy Graham Talagi of Niue, and Solomon Islands Minister Alfred Ghiro, with FFA Director General James Movick looking on.

The multilateral NTSA commits countries to strengthened cooperation between each other in their surveillance efforts against IUU fishing in their waters. The Australia, Niue and Solomon Islands signatures to the NTSA during the Forum Fisheries 10th Ministerial meeting in Tokelau this week now brings the number of signatories to 11.

“In signing today’s treaty, Australia is demonstrating its continued commitment to the sustainability of fisheries across the Pacific and to strengthening arrangements to protect these valuable resources,” Senator Colbeck said. “As Australia’s representative I believe our experience in fisheries management is useful to share with our regional partners and I look forward to working together to support regional growth while effectively managing threats to the success of Pacific fisheries.”

“I am proud to add my signature enacting the decision of my cabinet to bring Niue into the subsidiary agreement, especially one which builds on an important Treaty for Fisheries named after my country in 1992,” Niue Natural Resources Minister Billy Graham Talagi said.

Adding the Solomon Islands support to the NTSA was especially symbolic for the Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Alfred Ghiro. “My time as the FFC Chair has really shown me the importance of standing together and taking action for the issues that matter to our people. Fisheries is an important economic driver for my country, thus signing the treaty subsidiary agreement gives strength in terms of our compliance activities. It makes the moment all the more memorable for me to be here in Tokelau confirming the Solomon Islands support for this important initiative,” he said.

Welcoming the Australia, Niue and Solomon Islands signatures to the NTSA, FFA Director-General James Movick also especially commended Nauru, who over the weekend became the third country to ratify the agreement “I am pleased to see the latest signatures, ratifications, and impending ratifications are in keeping with the regional spirit of the original 1992 Niue Treaty on Cooperation in Fisheries Surveillance and Law Enforcement in the South Pacific, and the 2012 multilateral NTSA,” Movick said.

He says the additions to the NTSA this week in Tokelau, combined with news of impending ratifications are an affirmation of regional momentum against Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

With Palau ratifying in March and the Cook Islands in April this year, Nauru’s progress past signature now means one more ratification from a signatory will give the NTSA legal force in these countries. Samoa and Vanuatu are finalising ratification. “This phenomenal progress demonstrates the region is working to ensure protection and enforcement against illegal fishing. I commend this milestone in regional solidarity showing what national efforts towards common regional interests can achieve,” says Movick.

Australia, Niue and the Solomon Islands now join the Cook Islands, FSM, Nauru, Palau, PNG, Marshall Islands, Samoa and Tuvalu as the current signatories to the NTSA. The multilateral NTSA stems from the Niue Treaty endorsed by all FFA member countries in 1992. The NTSA covers flexible cooperation in a broad range of activities and the sharing of fisheries data and intelligence for fisheries and broader law enforcement purposes.

 

 

CONTACT

FFA MEDIA: Email: lisa.williams-lahari@ffa.int Tel: + 677 7574230 (Mob.)

Senator Colbeck: Media Adviser Jemima Stagg 0438 387 436 jemima.stagg@aph.gov.au

 

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) strengthens national capacity and regional solidarity so its 17 members can manage, control and develop their tuna fisheries now and in the future. Based in Honiara, Solomon Islands, FFA’s 17 Pacific Island members are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Since 1979, FFA has facilitated regional cooperation so that all Pacific countries benefit from the sustainable use of tuna – a multi-billion dollar resource important for many people’s livelihoods in the Pacific.

The International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries-related MCS activities through enhanced cooperation, coordination, information collection and exchange among national organizations and institutions responsible for fisheries-related MCS.