Protecting Solomon Islands’ tuna resources from illegal activity has received a significant boost with 24 Compliance officers receiving training from the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) recently.

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF Police Maritime) and Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) Compliance Officers from Noro, Western Province participated in Boarding Inspection Training to combat Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported (IUU) fishing.

“The FFA Secretariat is pleased to provide support to Solomon Islands following a request for In-country support on boarding inspection capacity building for RSIPF and MFMR. Enhancing port and at-sea inspection capacity remains an integral component of the Secretariat’s support to FFA Members,” said FFA Director of Fisheries Operation, Allan Rahari speaking at the virtual opening.

“Empowering our people is vital to all our efforts to combat illegal fishing and sustainable management of our valuable fisheries resources. This workshop is an important step towards this. We are sincerely grateful to the Solomon Islands’ Government for the continued support and collaboration with all of our Members and the Secretariat,” agreed FFA Director General Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen.

Key items covered in the training included vessel compliance inspections by boarding officers at sea and in port. The areas of training broadly covered fisheries evolving legal instruments and integration of inspection data analysis on information management systems. The COVID19 Fisheries guidelines relating to hazard mitigation procedures and safety of officers were also covered.

Participants were also engaged in practical boarding inspections on fishing vessels at Noro Port and a demonstration of at-sea boarding operations onboard the RSIPV Auki.

“We’ve learned a lot from the training, we are appreciative of the opportunity for RSIPF to participate. We will look to apply the knowledge and skills in future at sea inspections and importantly the COVID-19 guidelines to assist us with the safety of our Officers on compliance inspections at sea in the upcoming surveillance operations” says participant, Maritime Inspector Nevol Soko.

FFA aims to support the foundation of understanding and guide national fisheries compliance programs as an index of legal, theoretical, and practical grounding on inspection procedures to support the detection of IUU and sustainable fisheries management in FFA Members.

“I’ve learned a lot about legal and MCS frameworks, how they are incorporated into national laws and policies. The importance of assessing risks before and during boarding inspections. As a compliance fisheries officer, the inspection practical exercise helped improve my skills and understanding of the importance of conducting pre-checks on vessels. The training provided the opportunity to refresh my skills in many relevant areas of my work and it highlights some of the areas which need improvement for our MFMR Compliance regime,”said Fisheries Officer Ellah Korasi.

The workshop was delivered by the FFA Secretariat with support from the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industry Te Patui. The training was made possible by funding support from the FFA PROP and NZ PIPSM Project.

Source: FFA