Port of Suva training to bolster fight against illegal fishing

Fisheries Officers from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), in partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries Fiji, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, and the Ministry of Primary Industry New Zealand, recently delivered dockside boarding and inspection training for twenty-eight fisheries and Naval officers at the Port of Suva, Fiji.

The Port of Suva lands and exports a significant amount of seafood, primarily tuna species, each year to Australia, New Zealand, Asia, North America, and other Pacific countries. Dockside boarding and inspections are an important tool used by authorities to identify illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices.

The dockside boarding and inspection training brought together monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) specialists from across the Pacific to enhance Fiji’s MCS capacity by sharing knowledge and experiences and promoting interagency cooperation and gender inclusivity.

The interactive training promotes safer, more thorough inspections by including practical components which provide hands-on experience. The training highlights the importance of good communication in the successful boarding and inspection of a fishing vessel.

The training also covered key topics including fisheries legal frameworks and officer powers, international and regional instruments, as well as MCS tools including the Fish Talk live translation app developed by AFMA to break down the language barrier during inspections.

Mr Wez Norris, CEO of AFMA, highlighted how a collaborative approach improves the effectiveness of fisheries MCS programs and enables the implementation of strong MCS measures in the region.

“The training has provided an opportunity for fisheries and naval officers to build strong partnerships that will facilitate information sharing.”

“AFMA has a long history of cooperation and collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries,” said Mr Norris.

“We are proud to work with our Pacific neighbours on MCS capacity building initiatives to ensure fish stocks are managed sustainably and maritime security is maintained to support the livelihoods of people in the region.”

The dockside boarding and inspection training is funded by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the Pacific ROU program.

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