Fisheries Minister Hon. Nestor Giro this morning joined other colleague ministers from Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Member countries for the 17th Ministerial Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) using Virtual conferencing platform.
In his speech the Fisheries Minister thanked the chair, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Federate State of Micronesia (FSM), Hon. Hon. Kandhi Eliesar for assuming the Chair of the FFC.
The Hon. Minister, reiterated that Solomon Islands will continue to support and work with the Chair for the next 12 Months.
“This I understand is a deviation from the norm but we are in unprecedented and uncertain times due to COVID-19 so smart decisions must be taken,” Hon Giro said.
The Solomon Islands Fisheries Minister also used the occasion to thank the Director General of FFA Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, Deputy Director Matthew Hooper and the staff of Forum Fisheries Agency Secretariat for the excellent performance over the last 12 months despite the COVID-19 challenges.
He said the swift adaptability to embrace available technologies to enhance and to progress the FFA Secretariat is a testament of a persistent determination in the face of adversity by FFA.
“I’m happy to note that the discussions today will centre on key strategic issues of importance, including impacts of COVID-19 on the Tuna Fisheries, progress of fisheries development as detailed by the report card and the progress made against the regional longline strategy,” the fisheries Minister added.
Hon Giro stressed that with the current global pandemic climate it makes the issues more critical and urgent thus demands greater focus from stakeholders to find suitable solutions to address them.
“I trust that we will do so in our meeting today,” the fisheries minister said.
Speaking on the deliberations, Hon Giro said as host of FFA, Solomon Islands is optimistic of a positive outcome from the meeting to ensure fisheries both tuna and coastal continue to be sustainable and profitable into the future.
He also used the occasion to thank FFA Secretariat for all the technical support rendered to Solomon Islands, particularly capacity building support given to staff of the Ministry of Fisheries in the last 12 months and aerial surveillance flights over the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Minister Giro also acknowledged New Zealand for working together with FFA to provide and conduct aerial surveillance mission when Solomon Islands requested for such assistance.
“Thank you for carrying out these duties, despite COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns everywhere, including here at home,” he said.
The one day meeting concluded with all the Ministers agreeing to continue working in partnership with FFA to address important issues collectively.