Held at the Edgewater Resort and Spa, the three-day meeting, which started with the official opening ceremony last night, will farewell current director general, James Movick, who will conclude his six-year term at the end of this year.
D Manu Tupou-Roosen, the current legal counsel at the FFA headquarters in Honiara, Solomon Islands, is highly tipped to take over the top role.
The Tongan national was one of four candidates that got shortlisted for the position.
Dr Tupou-Roosen will become the first female to lead the regional fisheries body if she gets the nod for the job on the final day of the meeting tomorrow.
Apart from this appointment, the annual meeting, which is attended by the 17 member countries, including 12 government ministers, will discuss priority issues for enhanced regional cooperation in offshore fisheries, focussing on the sustainable management of the highly valuable tuna sector.
The theme of this year’s meeting, chaired by the prime minister and minister of marine resources Henry Puna, is ‘Our Moana, our fish, our future’.
In a statement, FFA said this year’s ministers’ meeting will discuss and endorse a number of agenda items, including development of the FFA Strategic Plan 2020.
The participants will also deliberate on the FFA annual report, which will outline the annual successes and ongoing challenges of the agency.
Discussions will also take place on the regional longline strategy, in an effort to draw out a common approach to ensuring sustainability and restoring economic viability to regional longline fisheries.
Progress in implementing the Pacific Maritime Security Programme, including the roll-out of the new Aerial Surveillance Programme to help address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and ratifying the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement, are some of the other items on the meeting agenda.
FFA is a key regional fisheries management body for Pacific Island countries, providing strategic fisheries management advice to its member countries on the management of fish stocks, monitoring and surveillance of fishing activities, and trade, investment and market access for fisheries exports from the Pacific region.
The FFA member countries are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.