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Pacific ministers learn about New Zealand’s unique fisheries management system during a four-day visit

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Sai Raje

The 40-member delegation, including Ministers from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, also visited the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), and attended meetings in Wellington and Auckland.

 Their visit followed an invitation from Prime Minister John Key at the Pacific Fisheries Forum last year, offering island nations to "examine New Zealand’s catch-based fisheries management systems" (C-BFM).

Standing (l-r): Mona Ioane, MP, Cook Islands, Matai Seremaiah Nawalu, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forests, Fisheries & Biosecurity of Vanuatu; Matua Shane Jones, New Zealand Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development; Lesley Campbell, Chief Executive, FishServe; Wayne Lowther, General Manager Client Services, FishServe; Elisala Pita, Minister of Works and Natural Resources of Tuvalu; and Mark Jones, General Manager FINNZ. Sitting (l-r): Semisi Tauelangi Fakahau, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of Tonga; Osea Naiqamu, Minister for Fisheries and Forests of Fiji; Henry Puna, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands; John Maneniaru, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources of the Solomon Islands; La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Von Schmidt, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries of Samoa.

The Ministers and senior officials spent two days in Wellington exploring the C-BFM before visiting Talley’s in Nelson in the morning and then spent the afternoon at NMIT.

 In Wellington, the New Zealand seafood industry-owned FishServe, which administers and manages commercial fishing quotas in the country, outlined how it helps manage 100 quota species, 635 quota stocks; and annual catch entitlements of 610,000 tonnes across 1,537 quota share owners, 1,050 permit holders and 1,200 vessels.

 FishServe Chief Executive Lesley Campbell says the presentation was well received, with plenty of questions from the ministers, seeking an understanding of the specific service delivery arrangements under which FishServe operates, and how they could learn from or apply these experiences in their unique fisheries environments.

 “We wanted to give them visibility of an alternative way things could be managed within their fisheries systems, no matter what their policy settings are,” Campbell says.

 The presentation also noted how FishServe had been able to improve the efficiency of providing these administrative services through expert IT solutions, she says.

 “FishServe has invested in good people, developed good fisheries data management processes, actively sought cost efficiencies and invested in technology to ensure the robust management of fisheries data.

 “That means scientists, enforcement officers, policy people, industry and fisheries managers have timely access to reliable data and can make informed fisheries management decisions.” Representatives from FINNZ, FishServe’s business development arm and Information Management solutions provider to fisheries organisations, addressed Pacific ministers on how technology and, good processes could play a key role in effectively managing fisheries data.

 FINNZ General Manager Mark Jones says IT solutions need to fit the requirements of a fisheries management model, simply implementing a packaged solution won’t produce the right results.

 The new software product that FishServe and FINNZ has developed is designed to be a flexible platform that could be applied to differing fisheries models around the world, Jones says.

 “While initially providing powerful functionality to manage fisheries data for New Zealand’s quota management regime, the software has been intentionally crafted in a manner that makes it readily adaptable to the business and regulatory models of other fisheries jurisdictions.”

 NMIT’s International Maritime Institute of New Zealand boasts the latest in training for the maritime industry. The delegation enjoyed checking out the virtual bridge and engine room training simulators, says the Nelson institute’s head Monique Day.

 NMIT has been supporting the fishing industry with training since 1976 and attracts students from around the world.

 A group of Pacific Fisheries Officer students currently studying at NMIT met the Ministers on their visit. Their course provides a broad range of practical training designed to be relevant to Pacific Island fisheries officers, which in turn enables them to assist fishing communities to look after their fisheries and assist fishing enterprises to develop sustainable and profitable fishing operations.

 Funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), participants receive a training and accommodation allowance through the NZ government’s Short Term Training Award Scheme (STTA).

 Day says maritime education is moving out of the classroom and into more practical and engaging teaching.

 Students are required to demonstrate competence as well as knowledge.

 Simulation exercises test and assess students in realistic shipboard scenarios. The Ministers were also shown innovative aquaculture education facilities, including a salmon hatchery on NMIT’s Nelson campus.

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