Improving Fisheries Transparency in Fiji Workshop Takes Bold Steps Towards Sustainable Oceans
The "Improving Fisheries Transparency in Fiji Workshop" convened by the Ministry of Fisheries with support from the Pacific office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Pacific) represents a collaborative effort to create a future where oceans thrive, communities prosper, and the Pacific remains a beacon of resilience and sustainability.
The event will bring together international and regional experts, government representatives, and industry stakeholders acknowledging that transparency is an important part in the larger process of building legitimate and effective regimes for fisheries management.
In launching the two-day workshop, the Minister for Fisheries, Honourable Kalaveti Vodo Ravu highlighted the need for innovative solutions in the face of unique challenges in the management of offshore fisheries.
"Fiji, like many nations across the Pacific, faces unique challenges in the management of our offshore fisheries. Balancing the urgent need for economic development with the imperative to conserve and protect our marine ecosystems is a formidable task. It is a challenge that requires innovation, collaboration, and, most importantly, transparency," said Hon. Ravu.
He added, "Transparency is the cornerstone of responsible fisheries management. It is the beacon that guides us in our collective efforts to ensure that our fisheries are managed sustainably, that the benefits derived from our oceans are distributed equitably, and that the health of our marine environment is preserved for the future."
Fiji, with its Economic Exclusive Zone or EEZ covering 1.29 million km², is reliant on responsible management of its marine resources to support the livelihoods of nearly 900,000 people. However, existing national legislation has posed challenges to achieving transparency in fisheries data, necessitating change.
The workshop’s objectives also align with the Global Charter for Fisheries Transparency and the Environment and Justice Foundation Principles, emphasising the crucial role of transparency in combating IUU fishing and promoting sustainable fisheries management.
Echoing similar sentiments, Director of WWF-Pacific, Mark Drew underlined the critical role of transparency in fisheries management.
“Protecting the ocean depends on having accurate data. Scientists can't study it properly without quantifiable information, and government agencies can't manage activities like fishing sustainably without solid scientific analysis. In summary, conserving and sustainably using ocean resources requires gathering good data as a foundation for sustainable resources management” said Drew.
"Improving transparency in fisheries management and governance is recognized to be an effective tool to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and achieve more responsible and sustainable fisheries management."
He added, “The opportunity in the Pacific is historical. At WWF-Pacific we recognise the importance of partnerships with communities, governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), academia and the council of regional organisations of the Pacific (CROP) and the only way to get there is if we journey together.
He also thanked the Ministry of Fisheries for their joint efforts in making the workshop possible and acknowledged partners WWF-US and the Oceans 5 initiative for their expertise and financial support.
As discussions unfold over the two-day forum, participants will engage in open and constructive dialogue, identify legislative and practical challenges, explore transparency tools, and commit to tangible actions and timelines. With these shared objectives and a spirit of collaboration, the workshop aims to contribute significantly to the sustainable and transparent future of Fiji's offshore fisheries sector and, by extension, the broader Pacific region.
The key objectives of the workshop include:
- Agreed Action Timeline: Participants agreed on an action timeline to implement transparency measures in Fiji's fisheries sector. This timeline ensures that steps taken during the workshop will translate into concrete actions.
- Regional Leadership: Fiji's commitment to transparency sets an example for the region, encouraging neighbouring nations to follow suit and collaborate for sustainable fisheries.
- Enhanced Maritime Security: Transparent fisheries management is not only ecologically vital but also contributes to strengthened maritime security, ensuring the protection of Fiji's waters.
According to a 2021 report prepared for the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) by MRAG Asia Pacific, the value of tuna harvested or transshipped in the Pacific tuna fisheries involving IUU fishing activity was estimated at US$333.49 million annually for the study period 2017 – 2019
For media inquiries and additional information, please contact:
Mr. Ravai Vafo’ou
Communications Officer, WWF-Pacific
Phone: +679 238 2192
Ms. Kuini Waqasavou
Seniour Media Officer, Ministry of Fisheries
Phone: +679 330 0555 / +679 8932 254
The Improving Fisheries Transparency in Fiji Workshop is part of WWF's broader efforts to promote sustainable fisheries management globally. For more information about WWF-Pacific and its initiatives, visit wwfpacific.org
WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. More: panda.org
About Ministry of Fisheries, Fiji
The Ministry of Fisheries is the national fisheries sector and industry's regulatory and service organisation. The ministry’s goal is to have the best fisheries in the Pacific region, with the objective to sustain, manage, and protect Fiji's fisheries. More: http://fisheries.gov.fj/