From left: Dr. Lara Manarangi-Trott with Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration and Special Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum Tepaeru Herrmann, H.E. Jim Armistead Cook Islands High Commissioner to Fiji, and Secretary of Education Danielle Cochrane. 22101917
Rhea Moss-Christian from the Marshall Islands has been appointed the new Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) executive director beating Cook Islander Dr Lara Manarangi-Trott.
It makes Moss-Christian the first female
executive director in the WCPFC’s almost 20-year history.
She will take over from March next year
when outgoing executive director Feleti Teo from Tuvalu steps down from the
position after eight years of service.
A formal announcement by the WCPFC is
expected on Thursday in Da Nang, Vietnam, where the Commission’s 19th Regular
Session is being held.
The Cook Islands is one of 26 member
countries that are part of the Commission and has delegates at the conference.
Cook Islands News understands the interviews with the Commission
for the top job were held on Tuesday. The
executive director is appointed by the member governments of the WCPFC.
Both Manarangi-Trott and Moss-Christian’s candidacies were backed by their respective governments.
Prime Minister Mark Brown, told Cook Islands News, “fingers
crossed”, Manarangi-Trott would get the job prior to the WCPFC meeting.
will be a feather in the Cook Islands cap to have a Cook Islander,” Brown said
Manarangi-Trott is currently the WCPFC’s secretariat compliance manager.
In a statement the Cook
Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said Manarangi-Trott’s
involvement with the WCPFC started as a regular member of the national
delegation and spanned the lifetime of the Commission.
Manarangi-Trott holds a Doctor of Philosophy in International Law from the University of
Wollongong, a post-graduate diploma in Organisational Leadership from the
University of Oxford, and has received international recognition for her
expertise in fisheries management.
Brown, in an official endorsement letter prior to the event, said he was
confident that Manarangi-Trott would have been a suitable candidate.
Cook Islands has full trust that as executive director, she will lead the
organisation in achieving even further success,” Brown said in the letter.
successful candidate, Moss-Christian has been involved in fisheries for over 20-year. She made history when
she became the first woman to be elected as chair of the Commission in 2014,
she was elected into a second two-year term in 2016. Moss-Christian holds
master’s and post-graduate degrees from Stanford University and Oxford
director Teo, in his opening speech, said he was
given the “insurmountable responsibility” of the job in 2014 at the 11th
Regular WCPFC Session.
“A responsibility I would like to think
I carried with all seriousness, and with dignity and humility,” Teo said.
“Now, as I look back, I am very
grateful and respectful to having been a very small part of the journey of the
WCPFC for the last eight years.
“As the WCPFC scaled new heights and
stood tall amongst the other tuna RFMOs (regional
fisheries management organisations) with many success stories and
achievements unmatched by its counterparts in other regional oceans. A moment
to treasure and revel in it.”
Caleb Fotheringham in Da Nang, Vietnam.
Fotheringham’s trip was made possible by The Ocean Foundation.