A one-week workshop was held at Davina House from the 7th – 10th of November 2017 for the Formulation of National strategies and action plans to improve compliance with the agreement on Port State Measure attended by experts from FAO, FFA, SPC, Ministry of Primary Industries – New Zealand, Fisheries officials from Cook Islands and government officials from line ministries.
The agreement on Port State Measures calls upon all member countries to develop and implement a consistent national Plan of Action and to provide a guideline/checklist of supporting actions for implementing the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures at operational and capacity development at the National level. Tonga signed the Port State Measures Agreement in 2016, aiming to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, through globally agreed minimum standards for concerted action, enabling better inspections and controls at the ports and on vessels and strengthened flag state responsibility.
Experts from FAO, FFA and participants of the workshop discussed and identified legal and policy actions, institutional and capacity development and MCS operational issues relating to implementing of the agreement. They also had the opportunity to discuss strengths, gaps and constraints, actions to address the gaps and priorities and strategies for moving forward.
Minister for Agriculture and Food, Forest and Fisheries, Honourable Semisi Fakahau, in his opening address thanked FAO and FFA for their financial and technical support and expressed the commitment of the Government of Tonga in taking steps towards protecting Tonga’s marine resources and preventing or deterring actions that can undermine the effectiveness of the pertinent management and conservation measures.
Dr. Tuikolongahau Halafihi, CEO for the Ministry of Fisheries expressed gratitude towards FAO and FFA for agreeing to conduct the Workshop which will contribute to the Government’s commitment to fight IUU fishing. He stressed the importance of an inclusive inter-agency approach to implementing Port State Measures.