The Tuvalu Fisheries Department TFD organized a consultation with stakeholders together with the help from the Forum Fisheries Agency FFA, to put in place a crewing policy and regulation. Mr Mike Betty the new Fisheries Adviser, Mr Isala Tito Isala the TFD legal officer and Mr Tion Nabau with Leonard Rodwell, consultants from FFA facilitated this consultation.
The draft crewing policy and regulation discussion was initiated in order for Tuvalu in future to have a crewing policy, crewing regulation and a standard contract of employment for Tuvaluan crew. This policy and regulation will enable Tuvaluans to be trained and employed as crew on Purse Seine, Bunker and Reefer vessels licensed by Tuvalu. It will ensure Tuvaluan crew are employed on fair terms and conditions including pay. This is the first time to conduct such a discussion.
This crewing policy and regulation will cover Tuvalu crew to work onboard Tuvalu flag vessels, and foreign flag ships that Tuvalu licenses to fish in our waters.
Mr Tion Nabau said that “this regulation is like the automatic condition of a fishing license”. Vessels that are not willing to employ Tuvalu crew will pay a crew waiver fee as part of their license fees.
The first discussion happened at the TFD office building in the first week of February this year while the second discussion was held at the Funafuti lagoon Hotel in late February this year. Currently, Mr Leonard and Mr Nabua, and the TFD legal officer are working together with the Tuvalu Attorney General’s office in finalising the draft regulatory framework.
The draft policy and regulation are meant to be ready by April this year, once approved by the Tuvalu Government Cabinet. The plan is for this crewing policy and regulation to be implemented on the 1st January 2020, and it needs to be ready before Tuvalu starts to negotiate access arrangements for 2020.