French in the House

Pacific Islands go French

AT least two major regional bodies have hit legal and administrative roadblocks as they move to implement the decisions of Pacific leaders to include the French territories of French Polynesia and New Caledonia as full members of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Worte affected is said to be the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency, based in Honiara, capital of Solomon Islands. The FFA membership is reportedly concerned that its strategic and confidential positions on the management and conservation of tuna have been compromised with the inclusion of France – through its Pacific territories — into its membership. So much so that a former deputy director general of the FFA and pioneering CEO of the influential sub-regional grouping, the Parties of the Nauru Agreement Dr Transform Aqorau has called for the elevation of PNA to be the lead agency in protecting the region’s rich tuna stocks.

“I know that the FFA membership is deeply concerned about the implications of sharing the same room with France in Pacific Island tuna discussions, and this issue was discussed at great lengths at the recent Pacific Fisheries Ministers’ meeting in the Gold Coast,” Dr Aqorau tells Islands Business magazine. “So you can see that there is now a perception that the FFA’s position has been compromised, prompting the view that perhaps the time is right for PNA to step up and become the lead agency in regional tuna management.”

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