Dr John Hampton, chief scientist and deputy director FAME Oceania Fisheries Programme with The Pacific Community (SPC), is pleased with the effort made by the Ministry of Marine Resources in managing the fishing industry.
“They are kind of at the forefront in implementing management systems and also paying a lot of attention to collecting good data from the fisheries,” Dr Hampton said.
“I think the Cook Islands can be commended for those efforts. I mean, other countries are doing likewise, but Cook Islands is right up there in terms of their commitment to getting data and following sound advice.
“No doubt things can be done better in certain areas, but from what I can tell, they are doing a good job.”
Dr Hampton is in Rarotonga with delegates from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and its 17 member states for the 106th Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC106) Officials Meeting at the Edgewater Resort and Spa. The forum, which started on Monday ends today.
Recommendations from the Officials Meeting will be submitted to the 15th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministers Meeting (FFCMIN15) which the Cook Islands will also host in Rarotonga from July 3 to 5.
Acting Marine Resources ministry secretary George Matutu said in a statement that one of the benefits of hosting the meeting was the opportunity it had given for the Cook Islands to showcase national fisheries management initiatives.
“The Cook Islands has been developing modern legislation to enable more effective fisheries management and strengthen its monitoring, compliance and surveillance (MCS) programme, through initiatives such as the recently opened Oceans Monitoring Centre (OMC),” said Matutu.
The OMC allows for increased investment in the MCS programme to combat IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing activity.
In addition to monitoring offshore fisheries, the centre collects data from the artisanal (small-scale) fishery to develop long term assessments of fish stocks, biodiversity and ecosystem health.