In the last three weeks, six fisheries officers visited each of Tuvalu’s outer islands to speak with the local populations about the proposed Tuvalu Fisheries Authority Bill, which would govern the management and future development of the marine resources in our nation.
The Manaui II, a department research vessel, carried the six-person team. The open community gathering with representatives from each island was followed by a session with Kaupule members to report the outcomes and get their opinions. Samasoni Finikaso, the director of fisheries, served as the team’s leader.
More than 60 attendees who spoke at the meetings, representing each of the eight islands, expressed support for the notion of turning the Tuvalu Fisheries Department into an Authority. Additionally, they added their recommendations to the Authority Bill in accordance with the discussion’s records and findings.
Cabinet decided to adopt the Fisheries Authority model after deliberating a High-Level Options Paper (HLOP) on Tuvalu’s future fisheries governance arrangements in January 2022. The proposed Authority’s scope and structure were reviewed by Cabinet in November 2022, and the Ministry was given the go-ahead to start preparing a stand-alone Bill to form the Authority.
A draft of the Bill has been created and sent to Cabinet for review. Cabinet recommended at their meeting in April that a nationwide survey be conducted before submitting this Bill for the July session of Parliament for its first reading.