Florence Edwards, MIMRA’s long-time Coastal Division Chief, is now the fisheries department’s Deputy Director, Coastal. She joins Sam Lanwi, Jr., who is Deputy Director, Oceanic, in the two deputy positions at Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority.
Edwards’ elevation to the deputy director position fills a key post at MIMRA. MIMRA Director Glen Joseph said her appointment will help the fisheries department to emphasize its coastal programs going forward. “This area is the biggest challenge in the RMI and in the region,” Joseph said. “2018 is the year for coastal.”
He said MIMRA is finalizing outcomes from last year’s National Oceans Symposium, with a series of goals that tie in to President Heine’s Agenda 2020. “It’s about food security, environmental protection, livelihoods and getting communities engaged as resourced owners and managers,” Joseph said. “We want communities to have a greater sense of ownership and responsibility (over coastal resources).”
A key point of the Reimaanlok (looking ahead) Plan that guides MIMRA work on the outer islands is emphasizing use of traditional practices for modern resource management, Joseph said. At issue, he said, is that “extraction of resources” — fishing, deep sea mining — is the focus, instead of sustainability of fisheries and ocean-related practices. “Usually there is no assessment (of marine-related plans),” he said.
Over the past several years, MIMRA and its partners in the Coastal Management Advisory Council, have engaged with outer island communities to develop resource management plans. “We aim to increase the number of outer island visits in 2018,” Joseph said. “We’ve averaged four outer islands a year. Our aim is to increase this while following up with the outer islands that already have management plans to move to the next step of local governments adopting ordinances (in support of sustainable resource management).”
Read more about this in the February 23, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.