Opening Remarks – Regional Community-Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) Workshop

CBFM Martin Chong
Feature Image caption
PEUMP Programme Coordinator Martin Chong while delivering his opening address.
Published Date:

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed colleagues, and valued community members,

Welcome to our important gathering today, where we focus on the critical role of Community-Based Fisheries Management (CBFM) in sustaining the vibrant coastal fisheries that are a cornerstone of our regional identity and economy.

Over the past three decades, there has been a growing appreciation of the vital contributions made by our coastal fisheries. It is heartening to see that, particularly in the last ten years, this recognition has evolved into a robust call for management approaches that are rooted firmly in the principles of CBFM. These principles not only honour our heritage but are essential in addressing the unique challenges and opportunities our fisheries face.

The Future of Fisheries Roadmap and the Noumea Strategy have set the stage at a regional level, emphasizing the need for CBFM. In response, the Pacific Framework for Action on Scaling up CBFM for 2021 to 2025 has been embraced by our Heads of Fisheries and Fisheries Ministers, marking a significant commitment to this cause.

As we approach the final year of the current Framework, our workshop this week couldn't be timelier. It offers us an invaluable opportunity to share and learn from the diverse experiences across our islands in implementing CBFM. These insights will be crucial as we strive to amplify our efforts, pinpointing key areas and prioritizing actions that will ensure the vitality of our coastal fisheries and the sustainability of the livelihoods that depend on them.

Moreover, the alarming findings from the recent Benefish Study 4, which highlighted a 14% decline in the per capita supply of fish from coastal fisheries over the past two decades, underscore the urgency of our mission. This decline not only threatens our food security but also the socio-economic fabric of over 10,000 coastal communities throughout the Pacific.

Today, we are here not just to discuss these challenges but to forge together the solutions that will safeguard the future of our coastal fisheries and the communities that rely so heavily upon them.

I look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions and witnessing the collaborative spirit that will define our path forward for managing our precious coastal resources.

I would like to acknowledge the support from our donors, the European Union in the Pacific and the Government of Sweden, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) who provide us invaluable support through the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme, SCoFA and Pathways 2 programmes and projects.

 I would also like to acknowledge and thank the technical support from our partners Locally-Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Network, University of Wollongong, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Food and Agriculture Organisation.

Thank you all for your dedication and commitment. Let’s work together to create a sustainable and resilient future for our coastal communities.

Vinaka vakalevu!