Pacific Forum Fisheries Committee meeting

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash departs today to represent New Zealand at the fifteenth annual ministerial meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee in the Cook Islands.

The Committee is the governing body of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency.

The Agency was formed by the Pacific Island Forum Leaders in 1979 to provide advice to member nations on the management and development of regional fisheries, as well as coordinating regional fisheries compliance activities.

Mr Nash says the meeting is his first opportunity as Fisheries Minister to contribute to the reset of New Zealand’s strategic approach to the Pacific recently outlined by the Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

“I have a strong interest in working together with our Pacific partners to ensure sustainable management of the region’s fisheries,” Mr Nash says.

“The Forum Fisheries Agency focuses on the valuable tuna stocks that migrate through the region and are a critical component of many Pacific Island economies.  New Zealand plays an important role in providing support and advice as both a major donor and a member country of the Agency.  New Zealand also provides policy expertise and leadership on behalf of the Agency.

“New Zealand’s focus for Pacific fisheries includes improving the sustainable management of tuna fisheries and coastal fisheries, preventing illegal and unregulated fishing, and protecting seabirds from the effects of fishing.

“Ministers will also discuss the process and content of the new fisheries standing agenda item on the Pacific Island Forum Leader’s agenda, which the Prime Minister has been invited to attend later this year.

In addition to the committee sessions this week Mr Nash will hold bilateral meetings with a number of Ministers from other nations, including Fiji, Kiribati, the Cook Islands and Australia. New Zealand is one of 17 nations represented at this year’s ministerial meeting.

 Mr Nash departs New Zealand on Tuesday morning and returns from the Cook Islands on Friday.