The guest of honour was the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogovare.
FFA was established in 1977 when Pacific Island Forum leaders decided to establish a South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency open to all Forum members and all countries in the region ‘who support the sovereign rights of the coastal states to conserve and manage living resources’, including highly migratory species.
A year before its Independence, Solomon Islands agreed to host the FFA headquarters. First housed in a two-bedroom property in Lengakiki in 1979 with a membership of 10 countries, the headquarters moved to its current location on Kolale road in 1985 with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding areas and now has a membership of 17 countries.
Solomon Islands has continued to support FFA over the years and has remained a valuable partner and host, one that the organisation is always grateful for.
To mark the 40th anniversary of FFA, Dr Tupou-Roosen said the FFA’s success over the past 40 years has been about people, and the event was to honour these very people who have served the region.
FFA provides a Forum for Regional Cooperation that ensures members can leverage our fisheries resources to maximize economic and social benefits for our communities.
“Strength Through Cooperation” is the key factor for the success of FFA, Dr Tupou-Roosen said. It is the platform for members to share information and work together. Some of the key achievements for FFA over the years have been Harmonised Minimum Terms and Conditions for Fishing Vessel Access, Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) framework and the Multilateral NTSA.
Anniversary celebrations in August began with an open day for primary school children with separate visits the next day for secondary students. Coinciding with the celebration, FFA hosted the Judicial Symposium with the theme “Responsibility in Fisheries”, attended by several Chief Justices and senior members of the judiciary from the region.
Dr Tupou-Roosen, reflecting on the 40 years of the organisation, said FFA is about making a positive difference in the lives of Pacific people, and thanked FFA members and the past and current staff of the Secretariat, many of whom have served the region for more than 30 years.
Cooperation and empowerment has been and continues to be the key to its success.
(Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogovare, presenting a participant with a certificate)