The shared oceanic fish stocks of the Pacific Ocean are central to the socio-economic development aspirations of Pacific Island peoples, and for many member States of the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), represent their primary economic development opportunity. In addition to new management measures to protect oceanic fisheries (e.g. establishment of the WCPFC; agreement of the Regional Tuna Management and Development Strategy; agreement of the PNA 3rd Implementing Arrangement), FFA Fisheries Ministers agreed a Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Strategy (RMCSS) in July 2010. The primary purpose of the RMCSS is to “support compliance with fisheries management frameworks and associated measures at national, sub-regional, regional and Commission levels to ensure the long term sustainability of oceanic fish stocks and associated economic benefits flowing from them to Pacific Island Countries.” While the bulk of the planning for the RMCSS was undertaken regionally, much of the delivery will be undertaken nationally. Given the shared nature of oceanic fish stocks in the Pacific, each FFA member is an important “link in the chain” and effective implementation of national obligations under the RMCSS will be critical to its overall success. Effective implementation of strong national MCS arrangements is also crucial to FFA’s strategic aim to leverage robust ‘in zone’ MCS arrangements to drive equivalent measures on the adjacent high seas.
The purpose of this project is to provide Technical Assistance to all Pacific ACP States to develop or update their National Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Strategic Plans aligned with RMCSS and develop the outlines of a training module.