The Pacific Islands Conference on Ocean Science and Ocean Management was opened Monday in Nadi with around 200 delegates from across the region and the world attending.

In his keynote address, Pacific Ocean Commissioner Dr Filimon Manoni said that the conference is an important one where participants will be able to share and discuss over the course of the week the challenges and possible solutions to ocean science and management.

“I believe that this first-of-a-kind regional conference will enable you to fully understand the magnitude of the problems that we are facing and how best we can work together in finding the best solutions,” added Dr Manoni.

Fiji’s Director for Fisheries, Neomai Ravitu said the Pacific Ocean, often referred to as the “Blue Heart of our Planet,” is not just a source of boundless beauty, but it is also the lifeblood of our region.

“It has shaped and sustained our cultures and traditions, economies, and ecosystems for generations, providing us with food, livelihoods, and a unique way of life. However, our “blue heart” is also now confronted with unprecedented challenges, including climate change, overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction. The very life force that has sustained us for centuries is now in peril,” explained Ravitu.

“This conference not only marks a significant milestone but also a pivotal moment in our collective commitment to understanding and safeguarding the vast and invaluable marine ecosystems that surround and sustain us and our Pacific Island nations and it does this by bringing together scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders from across the Pacific to discuss the latest research on the ocean and to develop strategies for managing it sustainably.”

The conference offers a variety of session formats, including presentations, discussions, deep dives, and posters, facilitating engaging conversations, networking and knowledge exchange. It revolves around key themes, each holding immense significance for ocean science and management:

The Pacific Ocean Conference promises to be a milestone event, uniting a diverse community of stakeholders to address critical ocean-related challenges, sharing on cutting-edge approaches and collectively working toward a sustainable future for the Blue Pacific.

The outcomes of the conference will serve as a roadmap highlighting Pacific priorities on the global stage on the path to the 2024 Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona, Spain, on 10-12 April 2024, and beyond.