Longline Vessel Day Scheme Workshop Sets New Goals For FSM
On June 11-13, 2018, FSM National Oceanic Resources Management Authority (NORMA held FSM’s first Longline Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) Workshop at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in Kolonia, Pohnpei. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the
Forum Fisheries Agency and the Office of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, and with funding assistance by the World Bank PROP. The objective of the workshop was to sensitize stakeholders about the Longline VDS and together explore the opportunities available in the FSM States for development of the longline fishery. Participants to the workshop included representatives from the FSM Department of Resources and Development andHeads or Senior Officials of State Departments’ of Fisheries, Economic Affairs, Investment, and Non-Government Organizations responsible for Natural Resource Management, and representatives from Lianchang Overseas Fishery, which is the only onshore investor in the longline fishery for FSM. Facilitator for the workshop was Mr. Wez Norris, former Deputy Director General of FFA and now Consultant to the PNAO.
The LL VDS workshop commenced with welcoming remarks by the Executive Director of NORMA, Mr. Eugene Pangelinan, who welcomed and thanked participants for their attendance, and highlighted the importance of the workshop and FSM’s objective to develop the longline fishery in the FSM. Although the longline fishery is a minor contributer to FSM’s access fee revenues, there is great potential for onshore investment and generation of additional economic benefits in the form of employment and taxes and local provisions if well planned and implemented collectively nationwide. It was therefore important for participants to discuss how the States could facilitate these investments and maximize the returns to FSM from its longline fishery. He emphasized that the longline fishery suffered a decline in the mid 1990’s when one large foreign company departed the FSM leaving FSM with infrastructure that was hardly ever used again. Today, the opportunity to rebuild the industry is there with the support of Lian Cheng, who has remained in the fishery despite the many difficulties and challenges. FSM needs to work closely with the private sector to reinvigorate this industry which has remained dormant for decades.
The Secretary of FSM R&D, Honorable Marion Henry followed with opening remarks, highlighting the importance of the fisheries sector to FSM and the importance of having a Fisheries Investment Policy which would provide a guideline of how fisheries investments could be facilitated.
Representatives from Liancheng Overseas Fishery presented on the company’s current investments in the FSM and its future expansion plans, and spoke of theissues or challenges the company currently faced in the respective States they have invested in, including how the government could assist to ensure their investments are able to continue to grow.
In addition to being sensitized about fisheries in the Pacific Islands, the PNA longline vessel day scheme and performance of the longline fishery in the FSM, participants were given the opportunity to discuss in working groups their State priorities and investment potentials, as well as the current challenges faced in each State and actions that need to be taken to address those challenges. Those discussions were an important result of the workshop as it would feed into the Fisheries Investment Policy that FFA is currently assisting the FSM Government with. It is anticipated that by the end of this year this Fisheries Investment Policy would be completed.