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Final Press Release - Tongafish Project Launch Jul 2019

Press Release
9 July 2019
Ministry of Fisheries launches significant project to lift sector performance
A key project which aims to improve management and recovery of selected fisheries in Tonga to
benefit more than 10,000 people in over 40 coastal communities has begun.

Minister for Fisheries Hon Semisi Fakahau, Vice President World Bank Group Madame Victoria Kwakwa (seated, third from left) and CEO for Fisheries Dr Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi, with World Bank Officials, sector stakeholders and Fisheries staff at the Mabé Pearl Centre in Neiafu, Vava’u

Minister for Fisheries Hon Semisi Fakahau, Vice President World Bank Group Madame Victoria Kwakwa (seated, third from left) and CEO for Fisheries Dr Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi, with World Bank Officials, sector stakeholders and Fisheries staff at the Mabé Pearl Centre in Neiafu, Vava’u

At an official event in Neiafu, Vavaú on Tuesday 2 July, the Ministry of Fisheries and the World
Bank launched the Halafononga ki ha Ngātai Tuúloa Tonga: Pathway to Sustainable Oceans
Project.
World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific, Madame Victoria Kwakwa, and a delegation
of senior World Bank officials joined the Minister for Fisheries Hon Semisi Fakahau, Fisheries CEO
Dr Tuíkolongahau Halafihi, and sector stakeholders at the occasion. The successful event involved
a formal ceremony, followed by a boat excursion to view Mabé pearl farms and Special
Management Areas in Útungake and Útulei.
Known in short as Tongafish Pathway Project, the World Bank-funded USD 10 million, six-year
programme supports achievement of the Tonga Fisheries Sector Plan long-term goals. The
objective is to strengthen sustainable management and development of selected commercial,
aquaculture, and community fisheries.
The selected fisheries are: Offshore commercial fisheries (tuna longline and deepwater snapper);
inshore commercial fisheries; aquaculture for Mabé pearl oysters (Pteria penguin) and giant clams
(Tridacna spp.); and community managed SMAs.
Anticipated outcomes include an efficiently supervised sector, increased women and youth
participation, and food security. World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Madame
Victoria Kwakwa stated, “Healthy, sustainable fisheries and marine environments are critical to life
here in Tonga, delivering positive economic, social and environmental outcomes, including for
women, by promoting female involvement in decision making around fisheries management.”

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Left: World Bank delegates on a boat trip to view Mabé pearl farms; Right: A presentation of oyster lines by Ministry of Fisheries staff.

A significant focus of the project will be training and capacity building for Fisheries Ministry staff,
and SMA and aquaculture stakeholders. Minister for Fisheries Hon Semisi Fakahau said the World
Bank’s generous support will be “the main means for empowering staffs of the Ministry of
Fisheries…in close collaboration with other line ministries and development partners, and facilitate
capacity development in the Fisheries Sector to achieve effective management of sustainable
fisheries throughout the country by year 2024”.
For implementation, a Project Management Unit (PMU) has been established as a new division of
the Ministry. The PMU ensures effective project governance according to World Bank
requirements. Delivery of project activities sits with the Ministry’s three operational divisions – the
Science; Compliance; and Management and Development Divisions.
While the Tongafish Pathway is primarily a Ministry of Fisheries project, the Ministry will work
closely with other government departments, regional agencies, development partners and
stakeholders.
The Tongafish Pathway project is financed through an International Development Association
(IDA) grant and credit resources: USD 5 million in Regional IDA and USD 5 million in National IDA.
ENDS