Vuna Road, Sopu
Tongatapu, Tonga

Training Initiative in Collaboration with Pacific Community Enhances Fisheries Management in Tonga

Nukualofa, 12th – 19th December, 2023 — The Ministry of Fisheries in Tonga proudly welcomes the esteemed trainer and facilitation team from the Pacific Community (SPC), Dr. Tuikolongahau Halafihi, Caroline Sanchez, and Martin Finau, along with Mr. Lopeti Tukuafu, Observer Trainer currently working under the Tonga National Observer Program, coordinated and managed by the Ministry of Fisheries.


The Ministry of Fisheries recognizes the importance of building a skilled team of samplers contributing to the Pacific Marine Specimen Bank housed at SPC. The purpose of this initiative is to provide samples from fish caught and unloaded in Nukualofa, contributing to scientific analyses crucial for effective fisheries management.



Tonga, in collaboration with SPC, has signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) in 2022 to collect and curate biological samples necessary for managing bigeye, yellowfin tuna, skipjack, albacore, and bycatch species in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. This collaboration aligns with the Ministry of Fisheries Corporate Plan, identifying the need to conduct bio-sampling as a key activity supporting decision-making on fisheries management measures, both offshore and inshore.



The training program over the next few days aims to equip participants—observers, port samplers, and fisheries officers—with essential knowledge on the sampling program in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean fisheries. This includes understanding the use and importance of information collected, identification and removal of internal organs and hard parts, and the procedures for collecting, storing, recording, and reporting biological samples.



Furthermore, participants will develop skills to the required standard, including locating, identifying, removing, and recording the main internal organs and hard parts collected for the biological sampling program. The training will also cover interpreting information in accordance with agreed protocols and collecting data and information to a higher standard.



The Ministry of Fisheries takes pride in its national Electronic Reporting (ER) program, enabling certified observers and port samplers to facilitate reporting of sampling activities at-sea and in-port using tablets.

This collaborative effort reinforces Tonga's commitment to sustainable fisheries management and contributes significantly to the broader goals of the Western Central Pacific Commission (WCPFC). The Ministry of Fisheries looks forward to the positive impact of this training initiative on the effective stewardship of Tonga's marine resources.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Metuisela Pohiva


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