Expanding connection to science for the Pacific Fisheries people

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Over one hundred participants from twenty-two Pacific island countries and territories met this week at the thirteenth SPC Heads of Fisheries meeting, focusing on important topics and fisheries priorities for Pacific people. Enhancing scientific knowledge and technical tools to better serve members are key priorities for the coming years.

Heads of Fisheries, senior fisheries managers, field officers, fisheries officers, donors, other regional agencies, and NGOs, attended this regional meeting remotely to discuss the emerging priorities for fisheries and aquaculture in the region for the coming years. These priorities are being aligned to the SPC member needs in the post-COVID recovery environment and include: digital transformation to enhance safe and secure access to fisheries data, the Pacific framework for action on scaling-up Community-Based Fisheries Management, and the availability of scientific knowledge about climate change impacts to inform fisheries management decisions.

“Improving scientific support for the Pacific fisheries includes the development of web portals and data visualisation tools, as well as the application of Artificial Intelligence in electronic monitoring to improve data collection,” explained Neville Smith, SPC Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystem (FAME) Division Director. “Enhancing existing strategic scientific assets will unleash the potential to perform genetic and ecosystem analyses to answer specific scientific questions from members and to build capacity in the region.”

This meeting also discussed and endorsed the draft Pacific framework for action on scaling up community-based fisheries management (CBFM). Recognising the diversity of contexts among Pacific island communities, this framework for action provides a tool to strengthen coastal communities’ effort in managing their fisheries resources. Digital transformation can play a pivotal role in this area, providing relevant and timely information for the fisheries community.

“The United States was pleased to chair the thirteenth Heads of Fisheries meeting and seeing the scale of the work done by the Pacific Community and members is impressive,” acknowledged Alexa Cole, acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and this year’s chair for the Heads of Fisheries meeting.

Following four days of valuable discussion, the Heads of Fisheries refined and endorsed the SPC FAME’s work priorities for 2021 and beyond. The meeting outcomes will be forwarded to the upcoming Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting, which will be held in late July this year.

Media contacts:Toky Rasoloarimanana, Communications Officer, Fisheries Division, Pacific Community tokyr@spc.int, Mob: +687 89 93 94 – Whatsapp: +230 57 43 36 61
Alexandre Brecher, Senior Communications Officer, Corporate Communications Office, Pacific Community alexandreb@spc.int, Tel: +687 26 20 00

SOURCE: SPC/PACNEWS