Vuna Road, Sopu
Tongatapu, Tonga

Press Release


(MAJURO, REPUBLIC OF MARSHALL ISLANDS, 3-6 JUNE 2023) - The Annual Ministerial Forum Fisheries Committee 20 (FFCMIN20) and the Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting 4 (RFMM4) was held in Majuro, the Government of Marshall Island from the 3-6 June 2023. The Ministerial meeting was preceded by a one-day meeting of the Forum Fisheries Committees (FFC127). At this meeting, members of the FFC consolidated proposals and matters to be considered by Ministers at the FFCMIN20 and the RFMM4 and their Retreat on the final day of the meeting

The year’s FFCMIN20 focus on areas to improve the management and development of the tuna fisheries resources the fisheries waters of its members. The key agenda for the meeting includes:

  • Impacts of Climate Change on Oceanic Fisheries
  • Combating IUU Fishing
  • Implementation of Zone Based Limits and Management
  • Priorities for WCPFC
  • US Tuna treaty re-negotiation
  • Review of FFA Governance
  • Donor Engagement and Partnership

The RFMM4 meeting this year concentrate on regional and national activities related to coastal fisheries and aquaculture. CROPS partners that collaborate in this meeting includes SPC, FFA, PIFs and SPREP. The key items discussed at the RFMM4 includes:

  • 15th SPC Heads of Fisheries Meeting
  • Coastal fisheries and Aquaculture


  • Climate change and fisheries
  • Marine pollution and fisheries
  • Review of regional fisheries policies: The Fisheries Roadmap and the New

Song for Coastal Fisheries

  • Implementation Plan for the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and

the Review of Regional Architecture

The Tonga delegation was headed by Dr. Tuíkolongahau Halafihi, CEO for Ministry of Fisheries with Mele T. Átuekaho (Deputy CEO, Fisheries Compliance Division) and Makeleta Mahe, Senior Fisheries Officer.



The highlight of the meeting is the Minister’s witnessed the signing of the MoU by South Pacific Group (SPG) including Tonga. Dr. Halafihi signed the MOU on behalf of the government of Tonga. The MOU’s immediate areas of interest is the management of the southern longline fishery, with a particular focus on South Pacific albacore tuna. This fishery stretches across the exclusive economic zones of SPG members, who work with the broader Pacific FFA membership on proposals to improve the management of albacore within the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

In addition, the meeting was also an opportunity for CEO for Fisheries, Dr. Halafihi and the Director General for FFA, Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen to sign the Country Partnership Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Tonga and the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). The CPA is designed to provide guidance to FFA and Tonga on the offshore fisheries priorities that emanate from national and strategic plans including what tasks have to be done and the sharing of responsibilities. The Agreement will also act to facilitate delivery of offshore fisheries outputs (including services provided by the Secretariat) in a coordinated manner. In doing so, it will assist members, the Secretariat and other offshore fisheries stakeholders to achieve the specific outcomes that they have enumerated in national and regional strategic plans.

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FFC MIN20Signing

15th SPC Heads of fisheries meeting: MARCH 20TH – 24TH, 2023

(Noumea, New Caledonia, March 20th – 24th, 2023) – The Heads of Fisheries Meeting is held annually and hosted by SPC Headquarters in Noumea; hence this year marks the 15th Heads of Fisheries Meeting and other related project meetings.  The purpose of this annual meeting is to provide an oversight of all SPC’s work in the field of fisheries and aquaculture, as well as an opportunity to discuss relevant topics of regional interest.  It covers SPC’s Oceanic and Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Programmes, and Directors Office which collectively forms the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystem Division (FAME).

SPC Director-General Stuart Minchin gave the opening remarks with Mr. Joseph Gestin, Director of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Services for Wallis and Futuna who is chaired at this meeting shared the purpose of convening this meeting.  Key topics for this year’s meeting are on the priorities and updates, impact of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture and the development of tools and apps to enhance the catch data for tuna to improve tuna fisheries management.  Leaders in the area of fisheries and marine ecosystem managements are aware of the said challenges and by working collaboratively as a unified body with shared vision and commitment, effective strategies can be developed to ensure the long-term sustainability of our shared marine resources.

SPC membership consists of 22 countries with Tonga as one of its participating countries.  Tonga delivered its country statement on the impacts of Climate Change and COVID-19 with its current and planned national activities/initiatives that are underway to manage and adapt to the impacts of climate change on its fisheries and aquaculture. Special Management Area programs, FAD projects, aquaculture, diversification (development of giant squid fisheries) are amongst activities/initiatives currently implemented.  Activities that are in place to be implemented in the future will be work conducted on ciguatera biological data collection with the assistance of FAO, continued deployment of FADs and promotion of cage cultured systems in small-scale fish farming. 

The Tonga delegation is headed by the CEO for the Ministry of Fisheries, Dr. Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi with Mr. Poasi Ngaluafe (Deputy CEO-Fisheries Science), Dr. Siola’a Malimali (Deputy CEO-Fisheries Management), Mr. Martin Finau (Head of Section-Aquaculture) and Ms. Sela Kioa (Fisheries Science Lead).  Tonga wishes to express gratitude for the continuing support and assistance from SPC and development partners such as World Bank, New Zealand, FAO, FFA, ACIAR and others.  We hope that we will continue to maintain strong partnerships in the future as we continue to work collaboratively. 

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