28 students graduate from Fiji Maritime academy Deck Hand Fishing Programme

Aaron Freddy Fotofiri receiving his certificate from FMA’s Captain Tevita Robanakadavu
Feature Image caption
Graduate receives certificate
Published Date:

12th August 2022


28 students graduate from Fiji Maritime academy Deck Hand Fishing Programme


Suva, Fiji – Today 28 students graduated from Fiji National University’s Maritime Academy (FMA) Deck Hand Fishing Programme.


The students took part in a one-month intense theory and hands-on training course on basic sea safety, nautical and by-catch knowledge. The by-catch component of the course aims to streamline sustainable fishing practices and applications to upscale the fisheries workforce knowledge on sustainable practises.

Today’s cohort of graduates were scholarship recipients funded through the By-catch and Integrated Ecosystem Management (BIEM) Initiative of the EU and Government of Sweden funded Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme under the project partnership of FMA, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). The graduates are now qualified to serve on board a fishing vessel as deck hands.


FMA Chief Executive Officer, Captain Rajitha Semage highlighted that the graduates will add significant value to the fishing vessels workforce as they are well-equipped to handle the challenging requirements of modern-day fishing vessels. Having been specially trained on sustainable fishing, the students would be part of a larger-than-life initiative towards ocean sustainability.

WWF-Pacific’s Sustainable Fisheries and Seafood Programme Manager, Duncan Williams said, “The scholarships have given the 28 students that serve in Fiji’s offshore fishing sector the opportunity to better understand issues such as by-catch of protected species of sharks and turtles, and gain the skills and best practices to help mitigate the detrimental impacts of fishing to the wider marine ecosystem. The programme also provided greater awareness of safety while at sea, but unique to Fiji is the addition of a module in the curriculum devoted to by-catch mitigation that WWF helped to develop with FMA, emphasizing Fiji’s commitment to a sustainable fishing industry that acknowledges environmental concerns on by-catch.”

The term “by-catch” refers to the unintentional catch of non-targeted organisms while fishing for a particular species. A report by FAO in 2019 estimated that around 9.1 million tonnes of fish are discarded annually in the global marine capture fisheries, representing 10.8 per cent of the annual average catch from 2010 – 2014.


Jamie Davies, BIEM Initiative Manager at SPREP added his support for the initiative.


“Sharks, turtles, seabirds and whales and dolphins are known as ‘keystone species’ and play a vital role in maintaining the health of the Pacific Ocean,” said Mr Davies. “Without them marine ecosystems don’t function effectively, and the valuable tuna fisheries Fiji and other Pacific countries rely on would not exist. By-catch in tuna longline fisheries is one of the numerous threats facing these species and we are very pleased to be supporting this initiative to ensure that crew members are informed on the measures in place to protect them and safely release them back to the ocean when caught.”




SPREP is leading Key Result Area 5 of the PEUMP programme, the BIEM Initiative, to support the governments of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu in the sustainable management of coastal and marine biodiversity.


The BIEM Initiative consists of eight integrated areas consisting of marine spatial planning; integrated ‘ridge to reef’ ecosystem strategies and coastal zone management planning; development and integration of climate change adaptation strategies into coastal community plans; assessment of bycatch of endangered species and extinction risk; development and implementation of bycatch mitigation strategies; capacity development through research grants to citizens of Pacific island countries; support for community monitoring and protection of endangered species; and capacity development of Non-Detrimental Findings process for CITES partners. Human rights and gender equality will be at the core of the development and implementation of each of these components.




For more information:

Ravai Vafo’ou, Communications Officer, WWF-Pacific; Phone: +679 331 5533 Ext. 104; Email: [email protected]


About WWF

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. More information:



The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is the premiere intergovernmental regional environmental organisation of the Pacific, with 21 Pacific island Members and five metropolitan Members.  SPREP’s mandate is to promote cooperation in the Pacific region and provide assistance in order to protect and improve its environment and to ensure sustainable development for present and future generations.  SPREP’s core priorities are Climate Change Resilience, Ecosystem and Biodiversity Protection, Environmental Governance, and Waste Management and Pollution Control.  It is guided by its vision for the future: “A resilient Pacific environment, sustaining our livelihoods and natural heritage in harmony with our cultures.”  For more please visit


The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by Pacific countries. Among these are the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources; the threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters; the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training; and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and to promote greater recognition of gender issues to ensure inclusiveness and positive changes for Pacific Island people.  This seven-year PEUMP programme is funded by the European Union (EUR 35 million) and the Government of Sweden (EUR 10 million). It is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in close collaboration with Non-Government Organisations and the national authorities.


News Type:
Press Release