Roles of fisheries observers discussed by Placement Officer Orianiha’a

Mr. Ambrose Orianiha’a (2nd from right) and Mr. William Naviti (3rd from rightr and next to him is John Mahit, Coordinator of the Vanuatu National Observer Program.

By Jonas Cullwick

Vanuatu currently has 35 fisheries observers serving on all types of fishing boats, fishing in the waters of the Pacific and around the world with an additional two who recently successfully completed training for observer work.

The Forum Fisheries Agency Observer Placement Officer, Ambrose Orianiha’a, who was in Vanuatu during the last three weeks, held a presentation on the Vanuatu National Observer Program (VNOP) at the Moorings Hotel in Port Vila Friday during which he revealed those statistics.

Orianiha’a explained that fisheries observers are young men and women specifically trained to work on all types of fishing boats, fishing in the Pacific waters all year round. They collect all information not readily available to the 17 FFA member countries and territories of the Pacific about fisheries activities in their waters.

“Observers’ work is very important to the region and for the tuna management of the region.

“They are our eyes and ears at sea and they observe, they record and report to the governments of the Pacific island countries,” Orianiha’a said.

“Observers’ work is very important

“There are currently 250 – 300 trained observers currently on fishing boats in the waters of the Pacific from around 2,000 trained over the past years.

“Regional observer coverage is now 100% on Purse Seiners and 5% on Long Liners,” the FF Observer Placement Officers added.

Vanuatu’s observers are found on Vanuatu flagged and Vanuatu registered long line vessels, purse seiners and carriers with 100% coverage on carriers, Vanuatu Fisheries officials confirmed.

Among those 37 Vanuatu observers are two women and Mr. Orianiha’a emphasized that FFA encourages women to become fisheries observers to fulfill its policy of gender equality.

“Vanuatu observers are hugely valued over the last several years and they get every support from FFA.”

The VNOP presentation was coordinated by the Vanuatu Fisheries Department whose deputy Officer-in-Charge, William Naviti, was also present on behalf of the Director of the Department, Kalo Pakoa, and the ministry responsible for fisheries.

Also assisting with the presentation, Mr. John Mahit, the coordinator of the VNOP.

The presentation came at the end of two weeks of observer debriefings carried out by Mr. Orianiha’a for six Vanuatu observers during which he and Vanuatu fisheries staff went through the six men’s Observer Work Books and the data fills in their work books.

Jonas Cullwick, a former General Manager of VBTC is now a Senior Journalist with the Daily Post. Contact: jonas@dailypost.vu. Cell # 678 5460922

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