March 17, 2010

By National Oceanic Resource Management Authority
The Kaselehlie Press

February 18, 2010 - In support of its mandates to continue to be an effective guardian of living and non-living marine resources in the FSM EEZ, FSM resounded its partnership with the Parties to the Nauru Agreement in their collaborative effort to protect and promote fisheries of common interest in their respective exclusive economic zones (EEZ) by signing onto and adopting the Third Arrangement to implement the Nauru Agreement in May 2008. The Third Implementing Arrangement (3IA), which has also been adopted as part of the Tuna Commission conservation and management measure 2008-01, has four major elements concerning the purse seine fishing in the PNA region. The elements include closure on FAD fishing during July - September, full retention of tuna catch, high seas pockets closure as condition of license to fish in any of the respective PNA EEZs and full observer coverage on the purse seine fishing in the PNA region. The 3IA entered into force on January 01, 2010.

To fully implement the four elements of the 3IA requires the services of fisheries observers and FSM NORMA Fisheries Observer Program, like other members of PNA fisheries observer programs, finds itself in need of more fisheries observers to add to its current pool of observers. FSM NORMA, with the technical and financial support and expertise from the SPC, FFA and WCPFC Fisheries Observer Programs and our good friends from NOAA, has just recently completed the 3rd Fisheries Observer Training, successfully adding 20 more observers, including the first two FSM female observers to the pool.

All trainings followed a certain selection procedure to find and select candidates for the training course. The recent training started out with a total of 127 interested individuals who were tested, shortlisted and interviewed and 21 qualified, who were again assessed and further shortlisted to 16. Two individuals from the previous training course were recruited to this group, in addition to two SPC funded newly hired NORMA Data Entry Staff, Ms. Yvonne Falaiepiy and Ms. Caroline L. Movick. All twenty trainees were certified under the Regional Observer Program (ROP) Standards by SPC and FFA.

The training course lasted for four weeks, starting on January 25, 2010 and ended on February 18, 2010. The training was conducted by Mr. Siosifa Fukofuka (SPC Trainer) as the lead trainer with the training assistance of Mr. Elton Cloudmar and Augustine Jeik (RMI Trainers) and FSM's very own trainer, Mr. Steve Peter. The FSM and RMI trainers have been undergoing training themselves to be trainers as well. They are experienced observers being trained to be trainers themselves in order to conduct their own national observers' trainings when needed. Also contributed to the success of the training were NOAA's Mr. John Kelly and Mr. Joe Arceneaux, FFA's Tim Park and staff of Pohnpei Red Cross with technical, financial and expertise assistances.

Upon completion of the training, NORMA Fisheries Observer Program operates with a pool of 52 observers, including the 14 cadets. NORMA intends to recruit more observers to have at least 100 fisheries observers. The plan therefore is to hold another training before the year ends. It is hoped that if funds are available trainees will be recruited from the other States.