Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF)

The ESMF framework provides principles and guidelines which are consistent with laws of the Pacific Island Countries that are involved in energy projects and is also relevant to the World Bank Safeguard Policies.

For more information on ESMF please refer to the document under the Energy section. Simply click on home and you can find Energy on the first Menu.

 

Thank you.

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The 7th Ministers’ Meeting of the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC), July 13, 2015

The 7th Ministers’ Meeting of the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC) discussed trade and investment facilitation and harmonization of labor and immigration legislations between the FSM, RMI, and Palau.

Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), July 13, 2015

The 7th Trade Ministers’ Meeting was held on 13 July, 2015 at the PSC Conference Centre in Majuro, RMI. The Meeting was attended by the Honorable Marion Henry, Secretary, Development of Resources and Development (Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)), the Honorable Michael Konelios, Minister of Resources and Development, RMI, and the Honorable F.Umiich Sengebau, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Republic of Palau (Palau). The objective of the meeting was to discuss the recent developments in intra-regional trade and investment in the Micronesian sub-region, the MTEC trade and investment facilitation roadmap, harmonization of labour and immigration laws between MTEC members, ongoing negotiations involving MTEC Member States, and finally the conduct of the MTEC Interim Secretariat’s affairs.

In this opening statement, the Honorable Michael Konelios, Minister of Resources and Development, RMI, underscored the importance of the 7th MTEC Ministers’ Meeting in moving forward the broader issues of interest to MTEC Member States. He informed the Meeting that RMI ratified the MTEC Treaty in February 2015, thus becoming the first country to complete the ratification process and highlighted two areas of “early harvest” which should be given priority by the Member States: harmonization of labor and immigration laws to ease the movement of people and workers within the sub-region and the removal of non-tariff barriers through the implementation of trade facilitation measures.

The Honorable Marion Henry reaffirmed FSM’s support towards advancing sub-region integration as substantiated by the institutional support currently provided to the MTEC Interim Secretariat by the FSM Government through the Department of Resources and Development. He reiterated the importance of trade and investment facilitation measures and the harmonization of labor and immigration laws as initial steps towards the sub-regional integration. The Honorable Sengebau informed the Meeting that a draft resolution on the ratification has been submitted to the Parliament and reaffirmed Palau’s commitment to support the operations of the MTEC Interim Secretariat.

With respect to trade and investment facilitation measures, the 7th MTEC Ministers’ Meeting noted the preliminary findings of the trade and investment facilitation needs assessment Workshop and endorsed the MTEC Trade and Investment Facilitation roadmap held on July 7-9, 2015, and directed the MTEC Interim Secretariat, in collaboration with Member States, to mobilize resources available from relevant technical agencies such as ITC, UNCTAD, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, as well as traditional and non-traditional development partners to implement the MTEC Trade and Investment Facilitation Roadmap. In addition, MTEC Ministers discussed and agreed among other things to start right away, the creation of a database of private sector doing business in the region for dissemination.

With respect to harmonization of labor and immigration laws between the FSM, RMI, and Palau, MTEC Ministers noted that presently nationals from the FSM and Palau are granted visa-free entry into the RMI for an unlimited period of time and do not require a permit to work in the RMI; and that these benefits were not reciprocated to RMI citizens. The 7th MTEC Ministers recalled that the issue was already discussed during the 12th Micronesian Presidents’ Summit and that action was needed. The issue will be reviewed with Ministers and Officials responsible for Labor and Immigration at the next MTEC Meeting to discuss progress made. The 7th MTEC Ministers’ Meeting also considered updates in ongoing trade negotiations involving the FSM, RMI, and Palau, in particular the negotiations for the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) Plus negotiations between Forum Island Countries and Australia and New Zealand and the negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Pacific Countries and the European Union.

Finally, MTEC Ministers agreed to mobilize annual voluntary financial contributions to support the implementation of the MTEC 2015-2019 Work Program to achieve the objectives and goals of the MTEC.

For more information, please contact: MTEC Interim Secretariat/FSM Department of Resources and Development; telephone (691) 320-2646/5133; fax: (691) 320-5854; e-mail: mtcinterimsecretariat@fsmrd.fm.

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Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC) Workshop, July 7-9, 2015

The FSM, RMI, and Palau complete their preliminary trade and investment facilitation needs assessment with the technical assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat Hub & Spokes II Programme teamed up with the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) during a sub-regional workshop on July 7-9, 2015.

Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), July 09, 2015

The Sub-regional Workshop on Trade and Investment Facilitation needs assessment for Member States of the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC), which took place on July 7-9, 2015, at the Public Service Commission Conference Room, in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), was convened by the MTEC Interim Secretariat currently headed by the FSM Department of Resources and Development. The Workshop brought together 37 Senior Government Officials, Port Authorities, and Private Sector representatives from the FSM, RMI, and Palau, as well as a representative from the Micronesian Shipping Commission (MSC). This very important activity, identified in by the FSM, RMI, and the Republic of Palau in the 2015-2019 MTEC Work Program, was facilitated by the Commonwealth Secretariat Hub & Spokes II Programme, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The Workshop contributed to strengthen participants’ capacity in trade and investment facilitation, shipping connectivity, and cross border paperless trade through presentations delivered by Dr. Saeed, Chef Trade Facilitation Section, ITC, Dr. Hoffman, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section, UNCTAD, Dr. Yann Duval, Chief Trade Facilitation, Trade and Investment Division, and Mr. Sangwon Lim, Economic Affairs Officer, Trade Facilitation Unit, Trade and Investment Division, ESCAP, and Mr. Azapmo National Trade Adviser, FSM Department of Resources and Development.

The needs assessment exercise was conducted and facilitated by Dr. Saeed and Dr. Hoffman, whilst the categorization and roadmap were prepared by Mr. Azapmo. The preliminary findings indicated that there were 10 Category B measures common to the FSM, RMI, and Palau which were partially implemented and thus required improvements. In addition, the findings revealed that the FSM, RMI, and Palau were non compliant with respect to four Category C measures: creation of enquiry points, establishment of trade facilitation for authorized operators, movements of goods intended for import under custom control, and creation of a single window.

Frank exchanges of information, discussions, and interactive group work sessions involving private sector representatives and government officials attending the Workshop contributed to enhance Public-Private Sector dialogue on the various topics. This led to the designation of champions among private sector representatives and government officials to lead the implementation of priority activities identified in the Trade and Investment Facilitation Roadmap developed by participants. The Roadmap was adopted by MTEC Ministers during their 7th Meeting on July 13, 2015 and subsequently endorsed by the 15th Micronesian Presidents’ Summit on July 15, 2015.

Although the FSM, RMI, and Palau are not yet WTO Members, they see the importance of trade and investment facilitation which will contribute toward enhancing trade and investment flows between the three Countries, thus increasing regional integration and fostering their integration into the world economy. The MTEC was established in 2014 through a Treaty, which envisions the creation of a community of shared prosperity through the promotion of sub-regional trade and economic cooperation and integration to support the achievement of sustainable and equitable socio-economic development of its Member States, and facilitate their integration into the global economy.

The fruitful collaboration between the MTEC Interim Secretariat, Commonwealth Secretariat Hub & Spokes II Programme and ITC, which led to the successful conduct of this Workshop, is expected to strengthen during the implementation of the priority activities identified in the MTEC trade and investment facilitation Roadmap, which was adopted by MTEC Ministers during their 7th Meeting on July 13, 2015 and subsequently endorsed by the 15th Micronesian President Summit on July 15, 2015 in Majuro. The next immediate step will be to organize national consultations to validate the findings of the preliminary assessment undertaken during the Workshop.

For more information, please contact: MTEC Interim Secretariat/FSM Department of Resources and Development; telephone (691) 320-2646/5133; fax: (691) 320-5854; e-mail: mtcinterimsecretariat@fsmrd.fm.

 

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Special Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Suva, Fiji

Secretary Marion Henry leads the FSM to the Special Pacific ACP Trade and Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Suva, Fiji

Suva, Fiji, July 16, 2015

Secretary Marion Henry took part in the Special Pacific ACP (PACP) Trade and Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting (PACPTFMM) in Suva, Fiji on 16 July 2015. The Special PACP Meeting focused mainly on devising a regional position to respond to the EC’s Trade Commissioner proposing the suspension of EPA negotiations to allow the review of conservation and management measures of fisheries resources. PACP Ministers acknowledged the complexity and difficulties of the fisheries issues as it relates to the Vessel Day Scheme developed by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), they agreed to continue negotiating the EPA as a single region and to engage a political dialogue with the EC with a view to finding a mutually acceptable resolution of the fisheries issues as well as the remaining contentious issues. The Decisions reached by PACP Trade and Fisheries’ Ministers will be considered by Pacific Leaders during their Meeting tentatively scheduled for September 8, 2015, in PNG.

The Meeting, Chaired by the Hon. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Acting Prime Minister, Attorney General and Minister of Finance, Public Service, Public Enterprises and Communications of Fiji, was attended by the Deputy Prime Ministers of Samoa and Vanuatu, and Ministers from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Also in attendance were the Director of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and representatives from the Oceania Customs Organization (OCO) Secretariat, Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNAO) Office, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO). Accompanying Secretary Henry to the Special PACP Ministers’ Meeting were Mr. Eugene Pangelinan, Acting Executive Director, NORMA, Ms. Camille Movick-Inatio, Assistant Secretary for Trade and Investment, and Mr. Jean Bertrand Azapmo, National Trade Adviser.

For more information, please contact: MTEC Interim Secretariat/FSM Department of Resources and Development; telephone (691) 320-2646/5133; fax: (691) 320-5854; e-mail: mtcinterimsecretariat@fsmrd.fm.

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The 2015 FSM Investment Guide completed and ready to be launched

Press Release #1506-01
Palikir, Pohnpei – FSM Information Services
June 08, 2015

(Palikir, FSM Department of Resources and Development)

After one year of national and state consultations, the Division of Trade and Investment has recently completed the publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, a promotion and marketing document that aims at providing useful information on investing in the FSM and guiding any potential local or foreign investor in setting up a business in the FSM.

The Investment Guide was designed and printed in Guam and delivered to the FSM Consulate General in Guam on May 27, 2015. In the welcome message, Secretary Marion Henry of the FSM Department of R&D highlighted the distinctive features of the 2015 edition of the FSM Investment Guide, which comes nearly 10 years after the last investment guide was published. In effect, unlike the 2006 edition, the 2015 FSM Investment Guide goes beyond the traditional sections on basic information about the FSM and the business enabling environment by providing updated detailed information on the main investment opportunities in the FSM, including tuna processing; fishing vessels and fishing nets repair and maintenance; tourism development around historic and archaeologic sites; protected areas and water-based sport activities; production of poultry products and drinking water; production of exotic agriculture products and small scale agro-processing; international transportation; and production of renewable energy, to name just a few. In addition, the guide offers a snapshot of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives available to investors, all the relevant information on starting a business in the FSM, with detailed information on the steps and competent agencies, and a list of useful addresses to make the entire process business friendly than ever.

With the publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, the FSM Department of R&D has now fully implemented one of the key recommendations arising from the Symposium on Investment Facilitation in the FSM held in May 2013 in Palikir, which recommended, among other things, that information on investment opportunities, procedures and steps to investing in the FSM, and relevant agencies involved in the process should be collated and published in an investment guide and be made available on a website. The date, time, and venue of the launching of the long-awaited document are being finalized by the FSM Department of R&D.

“This is the very first professional investment guide that the FSM has produced and it is a reflection of the new pro-active approach that we want to take with respect to promoting investments into the FSM as part of the government overall strategy as the Nation gears up towards 2023; there is more coming up”, says Secretary Henry. Following the launching of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide, the FSM Department of R&D will turn to other key projects and reforms needed to further improving the business enabling environment in the FSM, including the “big elephant in the house.” On top of the list is the drafting of proposed amendments to foreign investment laws and regulations as well as policies to further enhance transparency, harmonize, and streamline the processes (the first round of consultations for this project was conducted last march and April 2015 with the technical assistance of the World Bank-IFC), followed by the establishment of an investment promotion agency at the national level. In parallel to those two major projects, the FSM Department of R&D will continue to build and strengthen the capacity of producers, produce and disseminate a guide to assist producers to export to regional and international markets, and finalize the translation of key sections of the 2015 Investment Guide into the Japanese and Chinese languages.

The publication of the 2015 FSM Investment Guide is a joint effort of the National and State Governments with the support of several stakeholders and development partners. In this regard, Secretary Marion Henry observed that “the collaborative efforts of national and state agencies as well as the private sector was critical and facilitated the realization of this important document, considering that it cuts across all sectors of the FSM society. The FSM Department of R&D could not have accomplished it alone”. Secretary Henry also highlighted the critical role of the technical assistance received from the Commonwealth Secretariat-EU funded Hub & Spokes Programme II through the advisory services of the National Trade Adviser; as well as the valuable inputs provided by other technical agencies and development partners, including the Pacific Trade & Investment network and the US Embassy to the FSM.

For more information, please contact: FSM Investment Unit, Division of Trade and Investment, FSM Department of Resources and Development; telephone (691) 320-2646/5133; fax: (691) 320-5854; e-mail: fsmrd@fsmrd.fm. You can also visit our website http://www.fsmrd.fm for more information.

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The Department of Resource and Development to represent the FSM at the Second Meeting of the Working Group on formation of an integrated market in Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok on March 26-27, 2015

Palikir, Pohnpei, Division of Trade and Investment, Department of R&D: March 25, 2015.

The Second Meeting of the Working Group on formation of an integrated market in Asia and the Pacific will take place on March 26-27, 2015 at the United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok to review and further discuss the diagnosis, findings, and concrete recommendations to improve the current level and quality of market integration in Asia and the Pacific. It is anticipated that the Second Meeting will focus particularly on a number of key issues identified during the First Meeting, including options for an Asian-Pacific agreement, the four markets to be integrated (goods, services, labor, and investment), elements for facilitating market integration in Asia-Pacific (e.g. regional tourism as vehicle for integration and regional education as portals for labor integration), the policy directions for reducing each of the market gaps identified, including direct and indirect policies for consideration by the countries, sub-regional groupings such as the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC). The three other Working Groups established under the Bangkok Declaration on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration, which will also hold their Meetings are connectivity, financial cooperation, and cooperation to address shared vulnerabilities. The final report of the Working Groups will serve as inputs to the Second Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration Ministerial Conference at the end of 2015.

The FSM’s involvement in this Working Group is primarily justified by its role as the MTEC Interim Secretariat, which is recognized under the Bangkok Declaration as a one of the sub-regional groupings that contributes to the goal of broader integration of Asia and the Pacific. It is anticipated that through this engagement, the MTEC would raise awareness on its existence, programs and activities, and secure the partnerships that are needed to implement those and achieve its goals and vision. The vision of the MTEC is to establish a community of shared prosperity through the promotion of sub-regional trade and economic cooperation and integration to support the achievement of sustainable and equitable socio-economic development of its Member States and improve the standard and quality of life of their People. The MTEC is considered as a stepping stone toward greater integration of its Members into the global economy. In this regard, the MTEC envisions expanding its membership to other Micronesian Countries (Kiribati and Nauru) and Territories (Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)). The FSM Department of Resources and Development is represented in the Working Group on Formation of an Integrated Market in Asia and the Pacific by Mr. Jean Bertrand Azapmo, National Trade Adviser, who will be attending the Meeting.

For more information on the Second Meeting of the Working Group on formation of an integrated market in Asia and the Pacific, please contact the Interim Secretariat (FSM Department of Resources and Development), at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

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The ITC and UNCTAD to Assist Members of the MTEC

The International Trade Centre and UNCTAD to assist Members of the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC) to assess their trade and investment facilitation conditions and needs with a view to enhance their export competitiveness and investment attractiveness

Palikir, Pohnpei, MTEC Interim Secretariat: March 25, 2015.

In response to a technical assistance request submitted by the MTEC Interim Secretariat to assist MTEC Member States to conduct an assessment of their trade and investment facilitation regulatory and policy framework, ITC Executive Director Ms. Arancha Gonzalez wrote to Secretary Marion Henry on March 16, 2015 in his capacity as the Interim Secretariat for the MTEC informing him that ITC has acceded the request for technical assistance. Ms. Gonzalez confirmed the ITC through its section on trade facilitation for business has the necessary expertise to assist the three Countries (FSM, RMI, and Palau) to conduct an assessment of their trade policy/regulatory framework for export competitiveness and investment attractiveness. In acknowledging ITC’s positive response, the Honorable Marion Henry, Secretary of the FSM Department of R&D/MTEC Interim Secretariat, expressed MTEC Member Countries’ appreciation and pledged the full collaboration of the MTEC Interim Secretariat and support to work with ITC to achieve the intended outcomes of the assessment.

This Project will include a number of deliverables and outputs such as advisory services, public private dialogue sessions on trade and investment facilitation, and capacity building of policy makers/private sectors so as to ensure coherence in the reform process. Other key partners in this exercise include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, which will be assessing shipping connectivity in the Micronesian region and its impact on trade and investment facilitation. The assessment of MTEC trade and investment facilitation needs and conditions is identified under the 2015-2019 MTEC Work Program, as one of the top priorities to facilitate the establishing of rules, institutions, and infrastructure to facilitate trade and investment between the Micronesian Countries and between the Micronesian Region and the rest of the world.

ITC and the MTEC Interim Secretariat supported by the Hub & Spokes II Programme under the Commonwealth Secretariat will start working on the details to undertake this very important exercise, which is scheduled to take place in July 2015.

For more information on the assessment of MTEC Member States trade and investment facilitation conditions and needs, please contact the Interim Secretariat (FSM Department of Resources and Development), at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

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The Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau Sign a Landmark Establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community (MTEC)

Apia, Samoa (MTC Interim Secretary: September 3, 2014).

 

On September 3, 2014, the Presidents Emmanuel Mori of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Christopher Loeak of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Tommy Remengesau Jr. of the Republic of Palau, officially formalized their historical trade and economic bonds by signing the Treaty establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community. The signing took place in the margins of the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States, during a consultative breakfast Meeting between Pacific Islands Countries’ Leaders and Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

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The vision and goals of the Treaty are to “…endeavor towards the creation of a Micronesian Trade and economic community through the promotion of sub-regional trade and economic cooperation and integration to support the achievement of sustainable and equitable socio-economic development of its Member States and improve the standard and quality of life of their People, thus contributing to the progress and development of Asia and the Pacific Region.” 

 

In their statements following the signing, the three Presidents emphasized the historical importance of the signing event. H.E. Emanuel Mori, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, underscored the significance of the Treaty and characterized it as a “true reflection of the Micronesian spirit of collaboration which characterized the relations between the three entities.” He indicated that the Treaty provides the appropriate institutional framework through which small producers of the three countries could network and meet the demands of the domestic and international markets, in particular for agriculture, aquaculture, and tourism products. Furthermore, President Mori noted that there were provisions in the Treaty allowing the sisters Republics of Kiribati, Nauru, and the Territories of Guam and Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands to join at a later stage.

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H.E. Christopher J. Loeak, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands noted that “the signing occasion marked a significant milestone for the three Nations in their efforts to fully integrate trade and economic initiatives.” President Loeak also stressed that “the Micronesian Trade and Economic cooperation and integration initiative constituted a building block towards greater integration of the three Countries in the Pacific, Asia and the global economy as envisaged in the New Framework for Pacific Regionalism.”

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Taking the example of the copra industry, which collapsed in Palau 20 years ago, H.E. Tommy Remengesau Jr., stressed that through sub-regional trade and economic cooperation and integration pursued under the treaty, it would be possible for productive sector to consolidate the volume of the products available, and thus increase the raw material available to support the development of small industries.

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The Presidents of the three Countries commended the partnership between the MTC Interim Secretariat and technical agencies (the Commonwealth Secretariat-EU funded Hub & Spokes Programme II, ESCAP, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat), which led to the development of the Treaty; and invited Development Partners present, among which Australia and the United States of America, to lend their support to the successful implementation of the Treaty. The Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Ms. Cristelle Pratt, commended the FSM, RMI, and Palau for their sub-regional integration efforts, and re-affirmed PIFS’ unwavering support for the implementation phase of the Treaty.

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The signing of the Treaty establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community was attended by the Prime Minister of Samoa and President of the 3rd International Conference on SIDS, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, as well as Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Cook Island, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, Vanuatu and Tuvalu.

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For more information on the signing of the treaty establishing the Micronesian Trade and Economic Community, please contact the Interim Secretariat (FSM Department of Resources and Development), at telephone number (691) 320-5133.

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Pohnpei State Move to Improve Sea Cucumber Fisheries Management

Sea cucumber, the Pacific Islands second most important commercial fishery and the longest surviving export commodity is facing intense exploitation pressure. Before tuna fishing was realized in the middle of the last century, Pacific islanders were processing beche-de-mer for sale to merchant ships visiting the Islands. Sea cucumber and beche-de-mer, its dried form, is highly priced food item in China the main consumer of global production. But not only this, medicinal properties in sea cucumber has been known in China for years, yet its only recently that modern interest has been attracted to look into its pharmaceutical properties. High demand and lucrative price paid but also weak fishery management controls are to blame for the spiralling decline of sea cucumber worldwide.

 

Here in the FSM Sea cucumbers are not only an exportable commodity, some species such as sandfish (Loangon), Brown curryfish (Werer), and Dragonrfish (Koid) are eaten and sold for an income as in Pohnpei. Most sea cucumbers are found in shallow waters and almost immobile and so easy to see and collect by fishermen. Besides they make a much easier species to study. Yet, they have been accorded much less attention as to those given to other species such as finfish, sharks, turtles, corals or MPAs. Many species remain unknown to science; for example one commercially important species (Hairy greyfish – Actinopyga sp) present only in Yap, Palau and recently recorded in Pohnpei is yet to be identified. Limited knowledge is complicated by the variation in the naming system (trade, scientific and local names) used, where they live and the best way to assess them. Without underwater information, catch and export information are important however these are rarely collected. The challenge for Pacific island fisheries agencies is simply lack of stronger management and monitoring system which stems from limited knowledge of these species, the same situation being faced by other FSM States.

 

Over the last three weeks, SPC is assisting Pohnpei State and the National Government to begin the process of developing an improved and transparent system for managing and monitoring the fishery, and enabling the State and residents to derive maximise economic benefit from their resource. Beginning with this process, a team of surveyors from the FSM Dept. of R&D, OFA, EPA, CSP and Fish and Wildlife led by Kalo Pakoa, SPC’s Invertebrate Fisheries Scientist completed surveys around Pohnpei proper. Commercial fishing here in Pohnpei, Yap and Kosrae are closed for up to 10 years now. FSM, like a few other protected fisheries in the Pacific are the target for commercial interest especially traders who will do whatever it takes to get supplies. Shortage of sea cucumber worldwide has created escalating demand for these products, and as 70% of the Pacific Fisheries are closed, you can see why traders will not overlook the FSM Islands.

So prior to any decision to go fishing, proper systems need to be established first. Resources assessments intend to determine resource health and whether stocks can support sustainable harvest. Trained officers will take the same surveys to other islands in the State who are affected by the same system of management.

At the meeting held on Friday 28 June at the WCPFC conference room, concern stakeholders learn of the critical state of sea cucumber fisheries in the Pacific, and especially what is happening in the FSM regarding aquaculture and ranching of sea cucumber and as well the preliminary results of the surveys in Pohnpei. While some species show signs of recovery, one species; Sandfish (Holothuria scabra) or Langon as is known locally seems to be in trouble. Interestingly record of Hairy greyfish – Actinopyga sp, now extend the natural distribution of this species to Pohnpei beside Yap and Palau.

 

The stakeholders with these facts discussed and proposed useful ideas to be incorporated into measures in the new Plan. Amongst ideas put forward, stakeholders felt this industry is old and about time it be fully localized, while good idea, the risk of closing down opportunity of benefiting from competitive price from foreign investors is a risk. License for export, permit for exports, and MCS were proposed as government revenue avenues and as tool to gather catch and export information. Permanent closure and short opening season is the approach and, only species prescribed will be allowed to be fished in an open season by area.  Species specific quota by area and for each open season, and minimum harvest size limits by species were proposed. Stakeholders agree with the need for measures to increase resources rent to the government and opted to use the same system of auctioning of license to the best bidder. SPC will continue to work with the National government and Pohnpei State to get the plan to completion.

SeaCucumber Pohnpei State move to improve Sea cucumber fisheries management

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Positive results of a FAD monitoring programme in Yap

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Introduction

A nearshore fish aggregating device (FAD) is an anchored or drifting object that is placed in the ocean to attract fish.1 Tuna and other pelagic fish gather around a FAD, making it easier to find and catch them. Nearshore FADs are deployed to improve the efficiency of small-scale fishers, but are also thought to provide other ben­efits, such as reducing fishing pressure on reefs, and providing a means to adapt to the predicted effects of climate change.

Six nearshore FADs were deployed in Yap State, Fed-erated States of Micronesia in early 2013. The FADs were deployed as a component of the “Community-based Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (CEAFM) and Climate Change Adaptation” project under the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the German Agency for International Cooperation’s “Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region” (CCCPIR) project.2

In addition to the six FADs supplied under the CCCPIR project, SPC provided Yap State with sufficient materials to fabricate an additional six FADs in case some of the primary FADs were lost.

• human population growth leading to overfishing in
coastal zones;
• declines in reef fish catch rates;
• the unhealthy state of some reefs in Yap and their predicted
further decline as a result of climate change;
• a loss of mangrove habitats;
• blue holes4 getting smaller and shallower; and
• the increasing local demand for fresh fish.

Four municipalities with access to the six FADs were selected to help implement a newly designed FAD moni­toring programme5 to collect data over a five-month period with the primary objective of gaining an under-standing of their effectiveness. The preliminary results of the monitoring programme are presented below.

Results

The monitoring programme consisted of interview-based, fisheries-dependent surveys, including fishing vessel counts and catch and effort interviews, and a household calendar survey that collected information on a household’s daily fishing activities, fish consump­tion and sales.

In total, 660 fishing trips were reported over the sampling period, and assuming that 100% of fishing trip coverage is reported, this amounts to an estimate of 1,496 fishing trips per year across all sampling sites (Table 1). This is likely to be an underestimate, but these are nonetheless used in the extrapolation of total effort estimates in the economic analysis presented thereafter.

Paddle Motor Total
Total reporteed trips(8 april-8 September 2013 185 475 475
Average trips reported per week 8 21 29
Estimated number of trips per year 419 1,077 1,496

About 63% of fishing events6 by location occurred on the reef over the sampling period (80% of total reported effort – hours), with FADs making up 22% of fishing events by location (10% of total reported effort – hours) and open water, mangrove and lagoon fishing making up the remainder (Fig. 1).

Figures 1. Proportion of fishing events by location

Figure 2 presents the weekly frequency of fishing events (n = 336) by fishing location, simply disaggregated as FAD fishing and non-FAD fishing7 (660 trips were recorded through the vessel count, but only 245 catch­and-effort interviews were conducted, related to 336 fishing events).

Although there is no clear trend, there is a notable increase in FAD fishing effort in August and September (weeks 19–22 in Fig. 2). Catch and catch rates8 are ana-lysed below, but the time series is too short to provide an indication of whether this effort increase is seasonal, a lagged effect of the FAD fishing training, an indication that the FADs had reached “maturity”, or other depend-ent or independent factors. Additional data will improve the understanding of fishing behaviour and trends.

Figure 2. Weekly frequency of fishing events

There is a strong correlation between fishing effort (loca­tion) and catch category, hence total reported catch is dominated by reef fish (Fig. 3). However, FAD catch rep-resents 20% of the total reported catch of 13,900 kg, when fishing effort at FADs only represents 10% of the total effort of 1,127 hours recorded over the sampling period.

Figure 3. Fish Catch

This is due to the high catch rates obtained at FADs (~25 kg h-1 boat-1) (Fig. 4), followed by open water and reef locations (each with ~12 kg h-1 boat-1). Catch per unit of effort (CPUE) is averaged over the whole sampling period and average non-FAD CPUE was ~12 kg h-1 boat-1, which is used in the with-and-without analysis below.

Given that fish are typically priced and sold by weight, CPUE (kg h-1 boat-1) is the logical proxy applied in the economic analysis.

Figure 4. Meancatch rate

Results of the household socioeconomic survey

In total, 131 household completed the calendar-based questionnaires over three periods of four weeks each. Collectively, the calendar data amounted to 3,668 days, with 13 data units produced per household per day.

Figure 5 presents the results of the household fish­ing activity for calendar periods 1 to 3 (CP1 to CP3). The data indicate that households across all three sites go fishing ~40% of days, or 2.8 days per week. In CP1 and CP2, fishing occurs on the reef 86–88% of the time, while FAD and open water fishing (non-FAD) occurred between 6% and 8% of the time. In CP3, the proportion of fishing trips occurring on the reef declined to 61% while FAD fishing markedly increased to 29%; these results correspond to those presented in Figure 1, con-firming the robust nature of the monitoring programme and similarly, the time series is too short to make infer-ence about fishing trends.

Corresponding to the change in fishing location, analy-sis of the household calendar data revealed that there was a change in fish consumption (reef fish being con-sumed 84% of the time in CP1 and CP2, declining to 70% in CP3) and sales (reef fish being sold 85% of the time in CP1 and CP2, declining to 55% in CP3).

Figure 5.Household fishing activities

Economic analysis

The fisheries-dependent and household socioeconomic data were collated to inform a mid-term economic analysis (consisting of “with-and-without”, “cost–benefit” and “what-if ” analysis) of the FAD project in Yap.

With-and-without analysis

The change in the value of catch resulting from increased catch rates at FADs is estimated in order to determine the financial benefit of FADs in increasing small-scale fisher efficiency. This is done by taking the hours fished at FADs and applying an average non-FAD catch rate (Fig.4) to compare the value of production with and without FADs. Assuming that, in the absence of FADs, fishing effort (hours) dedicated to FADs is applied to non-FAD locations, the difference between the value of the catch with and without FADs amounts to the financial benefit of the increased fisher efficiency resulting from FADs. This is modeled under three scenarios using the FAD and non-FAD (average) CPUEs (kg hr-1 boat-1) presented in Figure 4. The scenarios are: actual reported fishing effort at FADs over the five-month monitoring period, and extrapolated9 fishing effort for five-month and oneyear periods (Table 2).

Table 2 demonstrates that the actual change in revenue to the fishing community resulting from increased catch rates at FADs after five months was ~USD 5,285, and when extrapolating, this amounts to ~USD 9,908 over the five-month sampling period. Over a year, this is esti-mated to increase catch value by ~USD 23,780 to the fishing community in the sample sites.

Mid-term cost–benefit analysis

In calculating the economic return from the project, the project cost was approximately USD 20,000, with capac-ity building and monitoring costs treated as sunk10.

table 2. table 3

Accounting for the project cost and the benefits (cash inflow) presented in the with-and-without analysis (Table 2), and applying a 10% discount rate, the project generated a positive economic return (NPV) within a year; over a two-year period, it is estimated to have gen­erated a net economic benefit of ~USD 21,272 (Table 3). That is, after investment costs for FAD materials and deployment are stripped out, the economic benefit amounts to USD 22,272, or an internal rate of return (IRR) of 84%.

This financial benefit omits other direct and indirect benefit of FADs, such as reduced fishing pressure on reefs, which leads to improved ecosystem services and climate change adaptation, which should be considered in a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis.

What-if analysis

Figures 2 and 5 demonstrate that FAD fishing effort increased in the latter months of the monitoring period and from this, it can be inferred that fishing effort trans-fer occurred from non-FAD to FAD fishing locations11 Considering this, we conduct a what-if analysis to pre-dict the financial benefit derived from increased fishing effort and catch rates at FADs should this trend of effort transfer continue. This is done by modelling three effort transfer scenarios where it is hypothesised that fishing effort at non-FAD locations is transferred to FAD loca­tions with FAD catch rates applied. For the three scenar-ios 25%, 50% and 75% of total non-FAD effort transfer are modelled.

Under these scenarios and assuming that catch rates and fish price remain steady, 25%, 50% and 75% effort transfer from non-FAD to FAD fishing locations would increase revenue to the fishing community by USD 50,065 (24% increase in revenue), USD 100,130 (47% increase) and USD 150,195 (71% increase) over a one-year period, respectively.

Considering the trends presented in Figures 2 and 5, it is reasonable to assume that scenario 2 (50% effort trans-fer) is a likely scenario when hypothesising fishing effort transfer. Therefore, over the life of the FAD project (two years), it is estimated that effort transfer and increased catch rates at FADs may increase revenue to the fishing community by approximately USD 200,260 (47%).

Conclusion

The interim results of the fisheries-dependent monitor- ing programme and household survey are indicative that both boat-based fishers and Yapese households utilise coastal areas (reefs, lagoons and mangroves) as their primary fishing grounds and source of food and income. This, in itself, demonstrates the importance for improved coastal fisheries management to build resilient coastal ecosystems under a scenario of climate change. It also demonstrates the need to provide alter- native opportunities for Yapese fishing communities to continue their traditional fishing ways in anticipation of declining coastal fisheries productivity.

A FAD is identified as an infrastructure that facilitates the capture of pelagic fish, providing access to fish stocks, such as tunas, that are resilient to high levels of fishing pressure by small-scale fleets and are less susceptible to the projected effects of climate change. The analysis of the data derived from the FAD monitoring programme in Yap enables the following conclusions:

  • FADs improve fisher efficiency, in terms of increas­ing catch rates.
  • FADs may encourage household behavioural changes, in terms of diverting fishing activity away from the coast, and in changing fish consumption and sales from reef fish to pelagic fish that are typi­cally associated with FADs.
  • The financial cost incurred from procuring and installing FADs is significantly outweighed by the additional catch values generated.
  • If fishing effort continues to be transferred from the reefs, lagoons, mangroves to open water area, catches and associated revenue to fishing communities will increase.

The above conclusions are not definitive due to the short time series and it is, therefore, recommended that the monitoring activity be extended for a longer period.

Acknowledgements

Numerous stakeholders have been involved in the Cop-ing with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region project and their contribution is gratefully acknowledged; however for the FAD monitoring component of the pro­ject, the contributions of the following individuals are greatly acknowledged and appreciated: the five data col-lectors Joseph Waayan, John Gamou, Joe Lukangaw, Paul Gorong, and John Yangruw; the fishers and households in the municipalities of Rumung, Maap, Gagill and West Fanif who provided their valuable data; Yap Commu­nity Action Programmeme (YapCAP), especially Julian Tewasilpiy, who administered the data collection pro-gramme; Yap’s Marine Resources Management Division of the Department of Resources and Development, espe­cially Mr James Pong, who oversaw the data collection programme; the New Zealand Aid Agency (NZAID) who funded the data collection; the German Agency for Inter-national Cooperation (GIZ), especially Fenno Brunken; and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), especially Etuati Ropeti, Michel Blanc, William Sokimi and the Data Management Team.

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