The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has launched a new Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) project with the Tonga Ministry of Fisheries called “Implementing recommendations to strengthen and enhance Tonga’s Special Management Area programme towards better-managed coastal fisheries resources and empowered, food secure communities”. This project was officially opened during a project inception workshop held on the 14th of March, 2018 in Nuku’alofa. The CEO for Fisheries, Dr Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi warmly welcomed participants of the workshop, including the Honorable Minister for MAFFF, Semisi Tauelangi Fakahau. The Hon. Minister officially opened the workshop and provided opening remarks, expressing his support and best wishes for the smooth implementation of the project. Assistant FAO Representative for Tonga, Mr Pau Likiliki provided remarks on behalf of FAO.
Following workshop formalities, a presentation was delivered by Siola’a Malimali, Deputy CEO for Fisheries and National Project Coordinator for the project, on the current status of the SMA programme. Mele Ikatonga Tauati, a Fisheries Technical Officer from FAO, then provided an overview of project objectives and workplan. The workshop ended off with constructive discussions amongst participants, further sharing issues needed to be addressed with the SMA programme, as well as expressing their interest and support for the project. Present at the workshop were key, relevant stakeholders of the programme, namely representatives from SMA communities and other interested communities in Tongatapu, senior officials from relevant line Ministries (MEIDECC and Ministry of Internal Affairs), as well as representatives from relevant NGOs, such as the Vava’u Environment Protection Association (VEPA) and Tonga Trust.
The project follows on from a recent review of the SMA programme completed by FAO in 2017, to implement key recommendations from the review. An important output of the project is help strengthen and streamline key processes of the SMA programme, given the fast and ongoing growing number of SMAs in Tonga over recent years. The project will also help build awareness and strengthen coordination amongst key, relevant stakeholders, namely SMA communities and relevant line Ministries and NGOs. The Pacific Community (SPC) will also be providing crucial technical support to the project.
The project is worth USD179,000 to be implemented over the next two years (January 2018 – October 2019). For more information, please contact to the Ministry of Fisheries in Sopu / Contact telephone number 21399 or visit our website www.tongafish.gov.to