The New Zealand funded Tuvalu Fisheries Support Programme Phase Two (TFSP2), which started in January this year, recently held its first six-monthly Governance Committee meeting to review progress with the project. The meeting, between senior officials of the Tuvalu Ministry of Fisheries and Trade and New Zealand’s MFAT was held by video conference on 27th July.
The meeting noted that the first few months of the project have mainly been devoted to procurement and recruitment activities, but it is now well placed to make progress with a number of important activities in the next six months. These include:
- Fibreglass boatbuilding – construction of a mold and five new fibreglass trolling skiffs, and training of local boatbuilders in how to make them – materials and tools have been received in Tuvalu and work will start as soon as the first batch of FAO canoes are completed.
- Community Fisheries Officers for 7 outer islands – advertisement has closed and candidates in four islands have completed the pre-selection test. Once all CFOs have been selected, they will do a 10-week training course in Funafuti.
- A study of new surveillance technology – the study has been completed and tender documents are now ready for supply of two shore-based radar systems to monitor transhipment in the lagoon and the Funafuti Conservation Area. A trial of satellite surveillance of the EEZ is also planned.
- Construction of a seawall and hard standing on the lagoon side of the Fisheries Office – designs have been completed and materials ordered;
- Construction of a mariculture hatchery at the Teone site – designs completed and building materials ordered; tanks, pumps and pipework are already on site.
The programme also supports the position of Fisheries Adviser in Tuvalu, and has just recruited a new Inshore Fisheries Adviser to work with the Coastal Section of the Fisheries Department.
The committee considered a number of studies and consultancies which had been planned for the first year of the project, but have been difficult to arrange due to restrictions on travel during the COVID pandemic. The Committee agreed that all except one of these studies should be kept on hold until the end of the year, in the hope that borders may reopen in 2022.
The Director of Fisheries Mr Samasoni Finikaso, on behalf of the government of Tuvalu, thanked his colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for New Zealand’s continuing support to the Fisheries sector in Tuvalu. This will be particularly important in the months ahead as the World Bank PROP project comes to an end.