A workshop was conducted by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in collaboration with the PEW Charitable Trust and the Ministry of Fisheries aiming to undertake a gap analysis of legislation relevant to the Port State Measure in Tonga against the FAO Port State Measure Agreement that has been ratified in 2016 by the States to combat Illegal, unreported and unregulated Fishing (IUU) in Tonga. The Workshop was held in Nuku’alofa from 18 to 19 January 2017 and was attended by more than 14 government officials.
IUU fishing continues to be a threat to the effective conservation and management of fish stocks in the wider Pacific Region. IUU fishing is causing economic and social losses for the Pacific countries and negatively impacts their food security and livelihoods.
The Agreement on Port State Measures is designed to intensify global collaboration between fisheries and port authorities, coast guards and navies. The aim of the Agreement is to eliminate 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.
The Chief Executive Officer for Ministry of Fisheries Dr. Tu’ikolongahau Halafihi in his welcome address to the workshop thanked FFA and the Consultant Carl Harris from MRAG, 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 pertinent management and conservation measures. He stressed the importance of an inclusive inter-agency approach to implementing Port State Measures and welcomed the participation of representatives of the Ports Authority, the Navy, Customs, Marine, and other national authorities to the workshop.
FFA Legal Adviser Dr. Manu Tupou Roosen and Mr. Samasoni Sauni, and the participants of the workshop discussed and identified legal aspects, policies, gaps and constraints, and also discussed actions to be taken to address the gaps, priorities and strategies for moving things forward.