August 17, 2018
The Coastal Fisheries Governance Project team of the Pacific Community (SPC) visited the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and all its States from the 15 to 31 July 2018. The team was comprised of Ariella D’Andrea, Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Legal Adviser, and Jason Raubani, Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Management and Policy Specialist, accompanied by Valentin Martin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the FSM Department of Resource & Development (R&D).
The purpose of the mission was to scope out information on challenges in coastal fisheries and aquaculture law and policy in FSM and to see where and how the project could assist in providing technical assistance in areas of need to FSM and its States. This mission was organised in response to a formal request made by the FSM National Government at the First Regional Technical Meeting for Coastal Fisheries held at the SPC Headquarters in Noumea, from 28th November to 1st December 2017. The request was based on the preliminary recommendations of the Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP) Project, now published in the Coastal Fisheries Situation Analysis Report, February 2018.
The team visited all four States, namely Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap, and spoke to national and State agencies, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), fish-market owners, fishers and tourism operators who have some role to play in coastal fisheries and aquaculture management and development. At the national level, the team met with about six national agencies and spoke to about 12 people. At the State level, the team met with about 18 State agencies and spoke to over 60 individuals.
The findings indicated that the main governance challenge faced in coastal fisheries and aquaculture in FSM include legislative, institutional and policy barriers, limited financial and human resources, and capacity building needs. In addition, there is a pressing need to develop alternative livelihood activities to support food security and sustainable coastal fisheries management.
The key legislative challenges for coastal fisheries and aquaculture management include lack of regulations for the implementation of the main acts, access to legal texts in force (e.g. it is difficult for officers to find the most recent version of all the laws relevant to coastal fisheries and aquaculture) and weak enforcement. From an institutional point of view, there are two main challenges. The first relates to the number of government agencies with overlapping mandates and responsibilities in coastal fisheries management, as defined in their respective legislation. The second institutional challenge is that in FSM, coastal fisheries management is carried out at national, state and local/ municipal government levels, as well as at community level. Having four different levels of governance adds significant complexity and requires strong coordination. The main policy challenge is that there are no specific overall national or state policy on coastal fisheries and aquaculture. Financial constraints, especially at the state and local government level, are a huge challenge. Moreover, there is a need to build capacity on the development of fisheries policies and management plans and on monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS), specifically on compliance and enforcement approaches, evidence collection and court case preparation.
Based on the above challenges, SPC will work in close collaboration with FSM to design appropriate interventions with the support of the Governance Project. Preliminary actions that have been agreed include training on fisheries policy and management plans and on MCS. In one or two states, SPC will offer technical assistance with community management plans, regulations and municipal ordinances.
The SPC Coastal Fisheries Governance project is a five-year project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The project started in late 2016 with three personnel employed for its implementation – a Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Legal Advisor, Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Specialist and a Coastal Fisheries and Aquaculture Management and Policy Specialist.
The main goal of the project is to enhance food security and sustainable livelihoods from fisheries and aquaculture through six outputs that include: development of national and sub-national laws and regulations; development of policies and management plans; capacity development, training and mentoring to national and sub-national level officers; MCS training; and awareness raising on fisheries rules and regulations.
The five-year project is being implemented by SPC. SPC is the principal scientific and technical organization in the Pacific region owned and governed by 26 country and territory members
The above is a summary of a three weeks visit and if you would like further information about the findings or the project, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Ariella on email firstname.lastname@example.org, Jason on email email@example.com or Valentin Martin on email firstname.lastname@example.org .