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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.

A tropical island surrounded by small boats
Fafa Island, Tonga. Photo: Department of Environment and Energy.

Our assistance is guided by the following regional and Australian plans:

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.

Related initiatives

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.

Related documents*

Name of document Year published Type
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Strategic Plan 2005-2020 2005 Strategic plan
FAME Strategic Plan 2013-2016 2013 Strategic plan
Independent mid-term review of the Fisheries for Food Security Program 2013 Mid-term review
Independent mid-term review of the Fisheries for Food Security Program–DFAT management response 2013 Mid-term review management response
ACIAR Strategic Plan 2014–18 [PDF 2.4 MB] 2014 Strategic plan
Independent mid-term review of the Improving Community-based Fisheries Management in Pacific Countries Program 2015 Mid-term review
Pacific Fisheries for Food Security Program Final Evaluation Report 2016 Evaluation
Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) – Independent Review of FFA's Performance [PDF 611 KB] 2017 Review report
Performance Review of the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division of SPC 2017 Review report
ACIAR-10-year-strategy-2018-2027 2018 Strategic plan
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency - Strategic Plan 2020-2025 2019 Strategic plan
Mid-term Review Report of the Community Based Fisheries Management Phase 2 2019 Mid-term review
Pacific Maritime Boundaries - End of Investment Evaluation Report and Management response 2020 Evaluation Report and Management response

Related links

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.

Woman pointing out things on a map
Juline Bob Yamuami, in her village of Kwamera, Vanuatu. Image: Dirk Steenbergen.

* The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is committed to high standards of transparency and accountability in the management of the Australian aid program through publishing information on our website, including policies, plans, results, evaluations and research. Our practice is to publish documents after the partner government and any other partners directly involved in the delivery of the initiative have been consulted. Not all material published on this site is created by the Australian aid program and therefore not all documents reflect our views. In limited circumstances, some information may be withheld for reasons including privacy and commercial sensitivity.

** Documents on this page may not meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. If you require fully accessible copies of documents, please contact

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