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The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) welcomed a high-level delegation led by the New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, on Wednesday as part of their visit to Solomon Islands.
Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio; Member of Parliament (and former Minister of Trade) Todd McClay; NZ High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands Don Higgins; and senior government officials from the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs including CEO Chris Seed, were also in the delegation.
The delegation met with FFA Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen and Deputy Director General, Matt Hooper to discuss priority work areas for FFA including initiatives to improve the economic returns to FFA member countries from their tuna resources and the use of new technology in the ongoing battle against illegal fishing.
The new rules governing labour conditions for crew on fishing vessels were also highlighted alongside measures to improve the safety of Pacific Island observers working on foreign fishing vessels.
The New Zealand delegation also visited the FFA Regional Fisheries Surveillance Centre (RFSC). They were briefed on the critical role of the Centre in monitoring, control and surveillance by FFA Director of Fisheries Operations Allan Rahari and Lieutenant Commander Phil Rowe seconded to the RFSC from the Royal New Zealand Navy.
New Zealand contributes around 40 percent of total donor funds to FFA, and its annual support amounts to around USD$7.5 million.
In acknowledging the commitment from New Zealand, Dr Tupou-Roosen said “This visit was an opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the Deputy Prime Minister and the Government of New Zealand for their continued significant support as an FFA member and key donor. It was also an opportunity to showcase FFA’s work and its importance for the region in terms of securing long-term social and economic benefits for our people.”
She added “We look forward to our continued work together with the Government of New Zealand. As our FFA Members have always maintained, it is cooperation that underpins our success” .
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