New Zealand experts deliver compliance training for Tonga Fisheries

Reprinted from the website of Tonga Fisheries Department

Staff from Tonga Fisheries Division recently took part in a three-day fisheries monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement (MCS & E) training workshop in Nuku’alofa 21-23 April, 2015.

Credit: Tonga Fisheries Department

Credit: Tonga Fisheries Department

The workshop was officially opened by Hon. Semisi Tauelangi Fakahau, Minister of Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries on 19 April 2015. In recognising Tonga’s reliance on fisheries resources for both food security and economic development, the Minister noted the importance of enforcing the fisheries legislation in the overall sustainable management of the Tonga’s fisheries resources.

In the opening address, the Minister stated “this workshop aims to increase staff awareness of that law enforcement role, as well as increasing the understanding of monitoring, control, surveillance and enforcement. I cannot emphasis enough the authority Fisheries Officers have under the law. Having this workshop is important so that they are able to identify offending and follow due process.

The Minister welcomed Pete Southen, Senior Advisor Pacific Fisheries MCS and Enforcement and Damian Johnson, Advisor Pacific Fisheries MCS and Enforcement analaysis from New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). The advisors bring a wide range of skills and experience across fisheries MCS and enforcement. While it is Damian’s first visit to the Kingdom, this visit is Pete’s fifth and further builds on the relationship that has been developed over the last four years providing valuable and much needed MCS support, resources and assistance.

The MPI advisors highlighted that “New Zealand is committed to supporting the management and development of Tonga’s fisheries. This work is about embedding and reinforcing foundation MCS skills such as note taking, taking statements, interviewing, and understanding and identifying ingredients and evidence of offending. These key skills are essential for Fisheries Officers carrying out their duties and ensuring compliance with Tonga’s fisheries legislation.”

There were 25 training workshop participants from Tonga’s border enforcement agencies (including Navy, Ports Authority and Customs), community groups (who implement special management areas) and fisheries staff.

The workshop also provided the opportunity for MPI to provide some further MCS resources to Tonga Fisheries to supplement previous donations of MCS equipment.

The advisors also acknowledged the excellent support and assistance received from the staff members from the Attorney General’s Office, who contributed greatly to the success of the workshop.

The International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries-related MCS activities through enhanced cooperation, coordination, information collection and exchange among national organizations and institutions responsible for fisheries-related MCS.