Message of the Director FY2015

"Using training, technology, partnerships to raise the bar."

Glen Joseph

MIMRA continues to focus on raising the bar on fisheries management. This involves a range of efforts across the sector, including increasing the skills and number of Fishery Observers, rolling out use of new technology to improve data collection, expanding inter-agency collaboration for fisheries monitoring and enforcement, managing the commercial tuna fishery through the PNA's Vessel Day Scheme, and coordination with outer island local governments and communities to promote coastal fisheries conservation and management. A new World Bank/Global Environment Facility-supported management improvement program started late in the year and is expected to bring important benefits to the Marshall Islands, both in expanded monitoring and enforcement in conjunction with RMI Sea Patrol and our international partners as well as expanding the Fishery Observer force, and also with the goal of establishing the first "Competent Authority" by a small island state that will facilitate through a certification process the export of fish to major international markets.

Important areas of focus for MIMRA in FY 2015 included:

  • Fisheries Observer : MIMRA continued to expand the number of Fishery Observers through trainings during the year. This has been accomplished through cooperation with the College of the Marshall Islands, Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Parties to the Nauru Agreement. Towards the end of 2015, MIMRA hired a certified Fishery Observer trainer to deliver multiple trainings per year in the Marshall Islands. This expected to help MIMRA to more quickly reach its goal of expanding its corps of Fishery Observers to 100.
  • Expanding use of technology :  MIMRA started piloting tablets for Fishery Observers with the aim of fully migrating from manual to digital recording of fisheries data over the next couple of years. The tablet not only allow for instantaneous transmission of digital data from fishing vessels, but it allows Fishery Observers to do so securely and independently of the vessel's communications system. There are additional features that support the safety of Fishery Observers including GPS on the tablets. Utilizing the PNA's Fisheries Information Management System ensures that all PNA members are benefiting from the same data platform, which is already improving MIMRA's access to fisheries data for the oceanic fishery.
  • Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program : Funded by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility, this program that started late in the fiscal year is supporting MIMRA management improvements. The four main areas targeted are : support for expanded fisheries surveillance in the RMI's 200 miles EEZ to complement ongoing assistance from Australia, New Zealand, United States and France; training and greater participation of MIMRA staff in economic, biological and operational analysis in support of developing negotiating positions with industry and within PNA; major expansion of the Fishery Observer program, both observers and de-briefers; and policy, legislative and staff development to assists MIMRA to establish a "Competent Authority" for certifying fish caught in RMI waters for the purpose of export. This program is collaborating with the Forum Fisheries Agency in addition to local partners.
  • Outer Island resource management : MIMRA's Coastal Division worked with a number of outer islands during the year to facilitate development of resource management plans. In addition, the Coastal Division continued to operate two domestic fish market retail facilities at Majuro and Kwajalein with a network of outer islands supplying reef and buttom fish to the urban centers.

MIMRA aims to boost collaboration with outer island local governments in FY 2016 and beyond

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