16 Dec 2004

FFA sees new role after formation of Tuna Commission

4:15 pm on 16 December 2004

The Forum Fisheries Agency says it will not become an irrelevant organisation now that the Tuna Commission is in operation.

The Commission, which will focus on the conservation and management of migratory species, especially tuna, held its inaugural meeting in Pohnpei last week.

The FFA's director, Feleti Teo, says the Agency has been working hard to ensure it remains effective under the new regional framework and has developed a new strategic plan.

He says, historically, much of the FFA's work was on maximising payments from visiting fleets but it will now focus on sustainable fisheries management and the sustainable development of domestic fishing industries.

He says another important aspect will be helping member countries develop common positions to take to the Commission, where they will confront the major fishing nations.

"With the sort of funding and financial muscle that they can exert in such an organisation, they will be very influential. And the only way that FFA member countries can stand up to this sort of influence will be to stick together."

Feleti Teo