Development assistance in the Pacific
Pacific regional – fisheries assistance
This page gives an overview of Australia’s work in the fisheries sector, under Pillar 2 (Stability) and Pillar 3 (Economic Recovery) of Australia’s Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response. It also outlines key related initiatives and summaries of programming and related documents.
We are working with Pacific countries, regional organisations and the multilateral development banks to ensure the sustainability of stocks, extract greater long run income streams and improve market access. Australia supports the sector primarily through partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). Within the sector, increases in GDP, government revenues and exports volumes have all been achieved. Appropriate onshore investments in fisheries are increasing, as are exports to key international markets. Our support also helps underpin scientific monitoring and assessments needed to ensure the future sustainability of valuable offshore fish stocks. Support to the inshore sector advances community-based fisheries management, essential for food security and livelihoods at the local level.
We are a longstanding supporter of sustainable Pacific fisheries. We are an active member of, and donor to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency ($5 million annually) and the Pacific Community ($2.4 million annually).
Australia is implementing additional programs to help our regional partners tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, including coordinated engagement under Australia's $2 billion Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Our Community-based Fisheries Management program ($8 million, 2017-21) is working with regional organisations, national fisheries agencies and communities in Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to develop capacity to manage coastal fisheries sustainably and share learnings across the region.
Our assistance is guided by the following regional and Australian plans:
- Future of Fisheries: A Regional Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries
- The New Song for Coastal Fisheries-Pathways to Change
- Australia's Agriculture, Water and Fisheries Sector Policy
- ACIAR: Improving community-based fisheries management in Pacific island countries
Scaling up Coastal Based Fisheries Management to support COVID-19 Recovery Efforts
COVID-19 exacerbates underlying food security issues. Disruption to supply chains and shipping reduces Pacific peoples' access to food, particularly those populations heavily reliant on imports. Displacement of urban communities back to rural areas is increasing pressure on local food stocks, including coastal fisheries.
Addressing food security is an essential component of Australia's COVID-19 response and recovery effort. We are collaborating with regional and national partners in the Pacific to safeguard and strengthen approaches to food security. We invest significantly to support and champion coastal fisheries management as an essential component of food security and stability in the Pacific. We support the regional effort to scale up coastal based fisheries management as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
Fisheries Development Assistance in the Pacific
Up to $142 million 2009-2023
Australia supports increased benefits to Pacific island countries (PICs) from sustainable commercial and subsistence fisheries and effective governance and ecosystem-based management mechanisms for sustainability.
Australian support is largely implemented through regional fisheries organisations–the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Pacific Community's (SPC) Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME). In response to the growing threats to the Pacific's coastal fisheries, Australia has also increased support through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) for community-based fisheries management and aquaculture assistance.
- Australia and the Pacific: Partnering to Support Sustainable Oceans and Livelihoods
- Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Division of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems
- Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency
- ACIAR overview of Community Based Fisheries Management Phase 2
- ANCORS overview of Community Based Fisheries Management Phase 2
- Video on the pathways CBFM project in Vanuatu
Case Study: Pacific Pathways Project
Fish from coastal waters are critical to the food and nutritional security of rural Pacific Islanders. Coastal fisheries face many challenges, including growth of markets and environmental change. The remoteness of many communities means they must lead on stewarding their fisheries.
The Australian aid programme is catalysing community-based fisheries management in collaboration with fisheries agencies in Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Although there is a great appetite for change, building trust and sustaining community cohesion is an incremental process. The Pathways Project brings tools and approaches to facilitate the discussions needed to foster change. An important dimension of this process is to enable the perspectives of women to be heard in decision-making.
The isolated village of Kwamera, on the Vanuatu island of Tanna, is typical of the 100+ communities supported by the project in their journey to secure fish-based food and livelihoods. Kwamera is home to some 400 people, including Juline Bob Yamuami who has been a strong voice in facilitating the men, women and youth of Kwamera to re-engage with traditional practices in their pursuit of improved fisheries.
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