Fiji strengthening bilateral relations with Kiribati in the Fisheries sector


The Fiji Cabinet has agreed that potential areas of supportive collaboration be explored between the Kiribati Fisheries Ministry and Fiji’s Fisheries Ministry says Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.

As a chain of 33 low-lying atoll islands, Kiribati is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, impacts of climate change and other natural and manmade factors.

Kiribati is also resource-rich especially in fisheries.

In a government statement Rabuka said Fiji will pursue possible collaboration with the Kiribati Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in:

* the promotion of fishing ventures between the two countries;
* post-harvest, fish processing development and marketing including training;
* joint research and development;
* joint fisheries conservation and management; and
*fisheries infrastructure development, just to name a few.

The potential areas of cooperation will be formalised via an MOU between our Fiji Ministry of Fisheries, and the Kiribati Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Once the two agencies have confirmed the terms of the MOU, it will be tabled in Cabinet for decision, he said.

Meanwhile, Kiribati will return to the Pacific Islands Forum ending a split in the region’s premier political body, Rabuka has announced after visiting the island nation last month.

“I am pleased to announce that the Government of Kiribati has written to me as Chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) expressing their willingness to re-join the Forum family. We will facilitate the process in consultation with all Forum leaders”.

In addition, we agreed to strengthen our bilateral relations and agreed to revisit the following outstanding bilateral issues;

(i.) Air Services Agreement;
(ii.) Development of Kiribati owned land in Natoavatu, Cakaudrove, Vanua Levu to be a source that will ensure the food security for the people of Kiribati;
(iii.) Deployment of Fijian Legal professionals to the Kiribati Attorney-General’s Office;
(iv.) Training opportunities in Fiji for specifically for health and education professionals from Kiribati;
(v.) Strengthening the networks with i-Kiribati students who pursue secondary school education in Fiji; and
(vi.) Re-establishment of the Rabi Island Council of Leaders.

The team of officials of both governments are working together to develop the necessary acceptable arrangements in addressing issues of common interest.

“I would also like to acknowledge with sincere appreciation Australian Government support and assistance in the transportation of my team to Kiribati through making one of their Royal Aircraft available,” PM Rabuka said in a statement.