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Dr. Transform Aqorau, former deputy director of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and former CEO of the PNA is founding director

Coalition to train Pacific Islands new fisheries leaders

FIJI
Thursday, September 20, 2018, 02:50 (GMT + 9)

A new generation of fisheries leaders across the Pacific Islands region is to be trained by a consortium of educators and international policy experts.

The new coalition, whose founding director is Dr. Transform Aqorau, former deputy director of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and former CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, is formed by Pacific Catalyst in partnership with the University of the South Pacific (USP), the University of Wollongong, Duke University, iTunaIntel and Environmental Defense Fund.

Pacific Catalyst intends to establish a fisheries think tank and training centre at the USP that will receive technical support from each of the partner organizations and inspired by the goals of the Regional Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries, it will complement national and regional efforts to enhance both the sustainability and value of marine resources while promoting employment opportunities and food security.

At present, the coalition is focused on generating research and advancing innovative management approaches for tuna.

“Every island nation owes its existence to the ocean’s life force and the resources it contains. And since no force in our ocean is more unifying and amazing than tuna, that’s where we begin our work,” said Aqorau. “In coming years we will expand our scope to include coastal and lagoon fisheries as well.”

Pacific Catalyst pointed out that in addition to supporting development of long-term solutions to fishery management challenges, its key goal is to increase the numbers of young people interested in marine science, economics and policy, then to provide them with both educational and practical fisheries management experience.

“Securing the future of the Pacific Islands is not only about sustaining our national resources,” said Aqorau. “It’s also about sustaining our communities, our knowledge, and seeing to it that future generations have the skills and opportunities necessary to prosper.”

For his part, USP’s researcher Dr. Salome Taufa stressed that education and sustainable fisheries management are the two challenges to be tackled.

With that in mind, Pacific Catalyst is investing in fellowships to provide students first-hand experiences and foster their interest in fisheries and marine policy.

“There are wonderful opportunities available to help us harmonize fisheries management in this region and sustain these priceless resources,” said Taufa.

“We’re very optimistic about emerging trends in fisheries management and welcome inquiries from prospective students who have an interest in the ocean,” the scientist concluded.

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