Fisheries ministers from member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency have expressed serious concern about the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their domestic economies.

The pandemic has resulted in an increased risk of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, due to the limitations on the use of human observers and port inspections.

The increased importance of FFA’s integrated Monitoring, Control and Surveillance framework during these times was highlighted at the 17th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial meeting.

Fisheries ministers expressed strengthened commitments to regional solidarity and collaboration as central to confronting the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic in the Pacific.

They have also emphasised the importance of protecting the fisheries sector, given its important economic and food security benefits.

With disruptions to airfreight impacting the export of fresh fish outside the region, Ministers welcomed the work being undertaken by FFA to explore market opportunities within the region.

10 Fisheries minister from the region including Fiji, Australia and New Zealand attended the 17th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial meeting.

Cook Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Vanuatu were represented at senior official level.

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