About SustainPacFish

SustainPacFish communicates how the island nations of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) safeguard tuna, other highly migratory fish, and the oceanic environment they live in. Not just for the near future, but always.

OFMP builds sustained changes in tuna fishing

SustainPacFish is funded by the Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP). It is an initiative of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

OFMP is managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The second round of funding for the project (OFMP2) was extended until June 2021, after which a third program, OFMP3, will begin.

OFMP has two main goals:

  • to achieve systematic changes in fishing patterns and behaviour in the WCPO, so that highly migratory fish are managed for conservation and also for sustainable development of fishing
  • to build the capacity of the small island developing states of the WCPO to manage the fisheries and the environment they live in themselves.

The project is run by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), and involves regional and subregional partners.

SustainPacFish shares the same communication goals as the news hub TunaPacific, another OFMP-funded site run by FFA.

Read a detailed description of OFMP and how it evolved in Baseline study and performance indicators for the Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project.

The Pacific Tuna Story

For the benefit of the small island states

The project is for the benefit of the people of the 14 small island developing states (SIDS) of the region:

  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

FFA partners with other regional organisations

FFA works with other regional organisations to deliver OFMP. FFA facilitates regional cooperation of the 17 countries that are its members. It was established in 1979 to help its members to sustainably manage the fishery resources inside their 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs). FFA provides technical assistance and expert advice to members. The organisation commissioned two studies that will guide work delivered through OFMP over the coming years. They are the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis and the Strategic Action Programme (SAP), which shows how the problems raised in the TDA will be resolved.

The SIDS and FFA collaborate in decision-making in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). The commission sets region-wide rules for all aspects of industrial fishing for tuna and other species. The region it governs is defined in the western and central Pacific fisheries convention.

The Pacific Community (SPC) contributes scientific and technical research and knowledge that supports the development of the SIDS. It also takes part in WCPFC committees. The most important areas of its work for the tuna fisheries are research on tuna biology and behaviour, the needs of healthy ecosystems, and climate change.

The 8 countries that signed the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) control the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse-seine fishery. All 8 countries are SIDS, and are members of FFA. The PNA focuses on sustainably managing tuna fisheries through the Vessel Day Schemes for purse-seine and longline fishing. The schemes limit the number of fishing days each year, and operators pay a fee to fish in the waters of member countries. The fees contribute to economic development. The PNA allows members to ban the use of fish-aggregating devices (FADs) for 3 months a year, and will provide the legal avenue for members to introduce electronic monitoring on fishing vessels.

Other project partners

Others that will be involved in OFMP3 are:

  • fisher families, who are developing the domestic fishery in the region
  • Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA), which promotes the development of the private sector in the region’s fisheries
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Pacific, which has long been involved in conservation of Pacific species and environments, and is a voice at WCPFC discussions and other regional forums.

The project partners will also work with the following organisations, many of which we have worked with for years on different projects: