Forum Fisheries Agency Director General Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen hailed a series of fisheries milestones for the region accomplished Friday afternoon February 8 in the Marshall Islands. She joined Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and over a hundred government and business leaders at the grand opening of the new $3 million headquarters building for the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority in Majuro.
The three-story MIMRA building includes state of the art communications and monitoring gear for fisheries surveillance, laboratory facilities, office space and meeting rooms for oceanic and coastal fisheries program work.
The new building “is a milestone achievement,” said Natural Resources and Commerce Minister Dennis Momotaro at the opening ceremony. Momotaro listed the many areas of MIMRA’s work, including implementing President Heine’s call to end illegal fishing in the region by 2023, establishing a “competent authority” for certifying fish for export to the European Union and other countries, and expanding protected area network sites throughout this atoll nation.
MIMRA Director Glen Joseph called the new fisheries headquarters “a beacon of hope and a symbol of self-determination.”
After opening the building, Momotaro and FFA Director General Tupou-Roosen signed an agreement to implement a new aerial fisheries surveillance program funded by Australia and managed by FFA for the region. With Friday’s signing, the Marshall Islands became the first FFA member to sign, paving the way for use of two airplanes that, with Australian funding, will provide 1,400 hours of aerial surveillance in the western Pacific region.
“This is monumental,” said Tupou-Roosen of the Marshall Islands-FFA agreement for aerial surveillance. “It sets the scene for other FFA countries coming on board (to access) this platform for aerial surveillance.”
Immediately following the signing of the aerial surveillance agreement, Tupou-Roosen and Parties to the Nauru Agreement CEO Ludwig Kumoru signed an unprecedented cooperation agreement. The seven-page agreement sets a framework for collaboration between these two major players in fisheries management in the region.
“There is a lot of room for working together,” said Kumoru. “Where we can share resources, we’ll do so, instead of duplicating efforts.”
Tupou-Roosen said the opening of the MIMRA headquarters and the signing of the two agreements were “milestones for the Pacific. It’s a proud moment for all of us.” She said this was all about “good fisheries management that we are seeing across the Pacific.”
She said the recent challenges laid down by Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine — to end illegal fishing by 2023 — and by Federated States of Micronesia President Peter Christian — to implement 100 percent electronic monitoring of longline vessels fishing in the region, also by 2023 — were “bold moves by two visionary leaders setting targets. We’re committed to meeting these challenges.”
Read more about this in the February 15, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.