Today I am pleased to announce a renewed partnership between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Australian Centre for Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the University of Wollongong to strengthen local fisheries management in Kiribati, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
Since 2013, the University of Wollongong’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) has been delivering a project in conjunction with international research agency WorldFish to build the foundations for more productive and resilient coastal fisheries.
“Already the program has benefited the Pacific region and supported the development of community-based fisheries management in Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and will deliver long-term sustainability by banning destructive fishing methods,” Minister Fierravanti-Wells said.
Phase 2 of this project is framed within the New Song for Coastal Fisheries – Pathways to Change: the Noumea strategy (the New Song), which was endorsed by Pacific Fisheries Ministers in 2015 and will be co-funded by DFAT ($6 million), ACIAR ($2 million) and the University of Wollongong ($2.5 million). Collaborating partners in the Pacific are contributing a further $1.5 million in-kind support.
Through this renewed partnership, ANCORS and WorldFish will use lessons learnt from the first phase of the project to expand improvements in the management of coastal resources for the benefit of Pacific people. By the end of Phase 2, the project will have built capacity in research and management in national and sub-national agencies and in communities. Coastal fisheries and marine resources are central to the rural economies and food supply of Pacific island countries.
Amongst rural populations, between 50% and 90% of animal-sourced protein consumed comes from fish. A predicted 75% of Pacific island coastal communities will not meet their food security needs by 2030 unless there is a transformative change in coastal fisheries management.
“The extension of funding will assist Pacific Island countries to take a much more holistic approach to coastal fisheries management,” Minister Fierravanti-Wells said.This project aims to improve the well-being of half the population dependent on coastal fisheries in Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu by June 2021. “This is a practical example of how Australia’s overseas development assistance is working towards stability, security and prosperity in the Pacific,” Minister Fierravanti-Wells said.