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Cook Islands endorses candidacy for head of regional fisheries body

Thursday 20 October 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Regional

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Cook Islands endorses candidacy for head of regional fisheries body
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

The Cook Islands Government announced its support for the candidacy of Dr. Lara Manarangi-Trott for the position of Executive Director of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

The announcement was made by Ministry of Foreign Affair and Immigration (MFAI) head and Special Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum, Tepaeru Herrmann after the conclusion of the Forum Leaders Meeting in July.

In a statement released this week, MFAI said Manarangi-Trott’s involvement with the WCPFC – the intergovernmental regional fisheries management organisation – spans more than 20 years. It began with her time as a regular member of the Cook Islands national delegation to the meetings that first established it in 2004, and continuing through to her current employment with the WCPFC’s Secretariat as compliance manager.

Within that time, she has also earned 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 international recognition for her expertise in fisheries management, the statement said.

In his official endorsement letter to over 28 Governments of WCPFC Member States and participating territories, Prime Minister Mark Brown outlined Manarangi-Trott’s extensive background in fisheries management and leadership, highlighting her experience and qualifications in both.

“I am confident that Dr. Manarangi-Trott’s long standing commitment to managing regional fisheries demonstrates her dedication to building upon her already exemplary service to the WCPFC and its membership. The Cook Islands has full trust that as Executive Director, she will lead the organisation in achieving even further success.”

Manarangi-Trott, while recently visiting family in Rarotonga, said: “I have worked in two separate regional fisheries organisations in two different locations (Honiara, Solomon Islands and Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia). I am extremely humbled and honoured to have received such support from the Cook Islands Government.”

“I strongly believe that my extensive regional fisheries management expertise demonstrates my long-standing commitment, dedication, and service to supporting the international cooperation and collaboration with all parties which I believe is essential for the successful and effective long-term management of Pacific tuna fisheries.

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to continue to utilise my knowledge and my skills in service to the Pacific, and to be considered to head the WCPFC Secretariat as its next Executive Director.”

In his supporting letter of reference, Professor Glenn Hurry, former WCPFC executive director and chair of the WCPFC, said: “Lara, while forever a daughter of the Pacific, is today very much a well-regarded, professional, and committed international and regional citizen, known to many in the fisheries world and enormously well respected. A genuinely experienced high-level executive fisheries manager and leader with the ideal mix of skills and talents of a modern international fisheries manager. Equally at home with her family and work in Pohnpei as she is meeting with regional leaders or representing the WCPFC on the international stage.”

“Talented and well educated, Lara is at that point in life and through life’s experience where she is comfortable within herself and has the confidence born from education, experience and commitment that will allow her to make an easy transition into this key international leadership role in the Pacific.”

Secretary Herrmann said: “The Cook Islands Government continues to lobby support for Dr. Manarangi-Trott’s candidacy as the selection process for the position of Executive Director continues.”

The Executive Director is appointed by the 26 member governments of the WCPFC to head its Secretariat, which is headquartered in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. This decision is expected to occur during the WCPFC’s 19th Regular Annual Session in late November 2022 in Da Nang, Vietnam.

The WCPFC is an intergovernmental regional fisheries management organization established in 2004 by the Convention for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, which seeks to conserve, manage and to ensure the sustainable use of tuna and billfish in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. WCPFC has a role in ensuring that Pacific Island countries, such as the Cook Islands, secure enduring social and economic benefits from their shared fisheries resources, and that these fisheries resources are managed sustainably for future generations.