IB 2019/19 The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency: 40 Years of Successful Regional Cooperation
The fortieth anniversary of the Pacific Islands Forum’s most successful initiative went unnoticed by Forum leaders at their meeting in Tuvalu in early August. The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) turned 40 on 8 August, a milestone in regional fisheries cooperation. Fisheries is a standing agenda item at the annual Forum leaders’ meeting, reflecting its economic importance to Pacific Island countries (PICs). The FFA is the focal point for the coordination of fisheries policies, and supported the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA)1 until the PNA established a secretariat in 2010. The FFA laid the initial foundations for PICs to exercise their fishing rights, thereby creating the environment that has allowed PNA members to assert their rights through the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) and dramatically increase revenue from their tuna in the past five years. The establishment of the PNA office in 2010 has tested the utility of the FFA, and questions are being asked if it is still an effective forum for the coordination of policies to manage the region’s tropical tuna fisheries.