Connecting People to Nature: Why Protect our Marine Resources?

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A tour to Fualopa, an islet within Funafuti’s conservation area was part of the Fisheries’ department’s role played in World Environment Day 2017.  The visit was organised as an awareness activity to link to the World Environment Day theme on “Connecting People to Nature”.  The Funafuti Conservation Area (FCA), a marine protected area, extends  from the northern centre of the channel between Tepuka and Tepukavilivili to a position about 1.11 km south of Tefala islet on the western side of Funafuti Atoll. The area under conservation extends between the 30m depth contour on the eastern side in the lagoon and the 20m depth contour west along the ocean side. The FCA occupies a total area of approximately 33km2 of the western reef margin, including six small islets. The Funafuti Conservation Area FCA was first established in 1997 and went into force under the Funafuti Conservation Area Act on the 1st of December 1999. This is a vital component of fisheries management and biodiversity for the atoll, helping to guarantee the resilience of the marine resources and habitats, and the sustainable utilisation of those resources in areas outside the conservation area by acting as a breeding refuge. In addition overflow of adult fishes that swim out of the conservation area add to the catchable resource in other parts of the atoll.

The Fisheries Department organised a field trip for Form 2 students from the Nauti and Seventh Day Adventist Primary schools. There were 52 people participating overall, including the pupils, teachers, Environment Day Committee, and some Fisheries staff. The visit took place on Friday the 9th of June 2017, starting at 8:00 in the morning with boats leaving from the main wharf and heading out to Fualopa islet. An awareness activity took place at Fualopa to all who attended the field trip. It started out with a brief lecture on what a Marine Protected Area is, why is it important to protect our maritime resources, information in the form of a map of the FCA and a brief account of its formation. Penalties for people who poach the FCA were also discussed. Fisheries officers also explained the food chain of the marine resources by showing pictures and how we humans connect to the resources. The study trip was unbelievably fun and enjoyed by the school kids and there was a strong sense of discovery. Students asked many questions and recorded their thoughts for later sharing in their households and at school. The field trip ended with a drive around the islet of Fualopa before heading home.

This activity was fully funded by the World Bank Pacific Regional Oceanscape Programme (PROP).

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Fisheries Monitoring and Management 2nd Consultation (FMMC2) 27th April 2017

clip_image002The Coastal and Operations & Development Sections of the Fisheries Department will be holding a second Fisheries Monitoring and Management Consultation (FMMC2). The meeting will be held at the Tausoalima Falekaupule on Thursday the 27th of April 2017.This is a follow-up meeting from FMMC1 which was run in February and which sought the views of the community on options for managing the Funafuti Reef Fisheries.  The meeting was in four sessions: (i) Results of the creel survey showing that resources are stressed and no longer yielding an optimum amount of fish; (ii) Description of a wide range of management options that might be useful in managing the reef fisheries; (iii) group work to discuss approaches to management; and (iv) a consensus of what the community would like to see developed. That meeting called on the Tuvalu Fisheries Department (TFD) to make some recommendations and draft an approach to management.

FMMC2 follows on from the February meeting, and the Coastal Section has now developed a series of 3 strategies designed to recover the fisheries in what will be embodied as the “Funafuti Reef Fish Stewardship Plan”, based on the discussions during the first meeting. The strategies have been designed to be as simple as possible, build resilience in the food supply system and ensure existing arrangements are minimally disrupted. The three main strategies include:

  • Strengthening the Funafuti Conservation Area (FCA) so that it operates as a true marine protected area (MPA) capable of creating a source of adults, juveniles and eggs for continual re-seeding of the rest of the atoll, support recovery of overfished stocks, and support tourism. The strategy will include demarcation of boundaries, a possible review of the legislation and enforcement.
  • Establish Size limits for fishing in the rest of the atoll to be voluntarily enforced by the Funafuti Fishermen’s Association. This is aimed at ensuring each fish has the chance to breed at least once so that the stocks can recover more widely to a more productive level. This strategy may also involve size limit information materials such as posters, stickers and measuring boards, supplying size limits for each species, and recommending net sizes and conditions for other fishing gears. TFD will also seek funding to develop size at maturity (Lm) data for as many of the fished species as possible.
  • Focus on offshore pelagic Fish. This will be the largest component of the project and is aimed at ensuring access to fish is increased overall, even as pressure on reef fisheries is reduced. This will introduce an Offshore Fisheries Development Project (OFDP) which will develop larger, more efficient vessels, fish storage and marketing facilities, further develop fish aggregating devices (FADs), further improve sea safety and investigate the possible use of transhipment by-catch.

Additional aspects of the plan will include a public awareness campaign around all of the strategies, monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the plan, including adjusting it if needed, and consideration of the ecosystem aspects of fisheries. Without a good habitat to support them, no amount of fisheries management will recover the stocks. The outcome of the meeting is expected to give TFD the instructions it needs to meet the needs of the community and the take development of the Stewardship Plan to the next level in time for the next meeting in July. At that time a completed draft Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan will be presented to the public for comment and finalisation.

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A Large Number of Lollyfish (Holothuria atra) washed ashore

Early in the morning at about 7:50 am on the 8th of March 2017, a report was made to the Fisheries Department that there were extensive numbers of sea cucumbers called lollyfish (Holothuria atra) scattered on the Funafuti seashore. Many of the animals were dead, while some were still active. Lollyfish is a common shallow water species commonly found on all nine of Tuvalu’s atolls and islands.

The sea cucumbers, an important part of the lagoon ecosystem, turned up on the lagoon shore near a residential area of the main island of Fogafale. According to comments from people living close to the area, nothing like this has ever happened in Funafuti before.

Two groups of fisheries officers went out to investigate. One team went out to the coastline water to take readings of the temperature and turbidity (cloudiness) of the water in the affected area. The other team did their best to rescue as many of the lolly fish as they could by transferring live ones back into the water in a clearer nearby coastal area.

According to the fisheries officers, it is thought the sea cucumbers were affected by ‘anoxia’, a situation in which the level of oxygen in the environment drops suddenly, often as a result of still, hot and high nutrient conditions. Patches of of black sediment were found supporting the diagnosis. The black colour is caused by the presence of hydrogen sulphide, indicating toxic conditions. The waters appear to have reached a state in which the level of dissolved oxygen was depleted, causing the animals to suffocate.

Causes of the sea cucumber kill could include poor water circulation related to a nearby reclamation, the accumulation or dumping of materials, such as rubbish, the death of large amounts of algae, and sewage, bilge pumping or other forms of nutrient pollution. Sea cucumbers are known to be sediment filters and help to keep the lagoon clean.

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Tuvalu Fisheries Library receives aid from PIMRIS: The Pacific Islands Marine Resources Information System

IMG_20170301_205107The Fisheries Department, received a Dell brand laptop and a scanner donated by the Pacific Islands Marine Resource Information System Project (PIMRIS). The equipment has been designated for creating and maintaining the Fisheries library database.

PIMRIS is a mutual network of regional systems and government information centres concerned with the evolution of technical information, including fisheries and marine resources in the Pacific. Its purpose is to improve access to information on marine resources in the region.

PIMRIS donated the new equipment with the aim of improving Tuvalu’s fisheries information. The focus will be on transforming all local fisheries publications into electronic documents for easy access. Keeping hard and soft copy documents is a good idea because Tuvalu is, like many Pacific islands, vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change, and this is one way of protecting these valuable assets.

The much-needed new equipment will be an asset to the Fisheries Librarian and Public Relations Officer in her duties.

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Fishermen Adrift for 15 hours and the Convenience of Grab Bags

Te Mataili
Te Mataili

Two middle-aged fisherman from Tuvalu spent 15 hours at sea trying many techniques that would save them from drifting too far from the island.

Semi Saaga and Foe Taalava went trolling offshore of Fuafatu, one of the Funafuti Islets, at 8 o’clock in the morning on the 28th February 2017.

The incident began at 4 pm when they departed to head back home. Their outboard motor propeller broke down as it was wound up by their fishing line while starting up the engine. They tried contacting help using their walkie talkie until 6pm without any response. Then they tried using a PLB (Personal Locater Beacon) device, which was part of the equipment in the “Grab Bag” donated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The two men agreed to take turns on look-out for help as their boat started to adrift further out.

The two fishermen’s families reported their failure to return to the Police to look for the two fisherman late that  evening, but by then the Search and Rescue (SAR) team had received a message from New Zealand about the alert beacon and was already in action.

Te Mataili (Tuvalu’s  Patrol Boat) found the two fisherman 7.5 miles away from the island at 11pm.

Safely on land, one of the fishermen described the incident and explained how handy the Grab Bags are. He recommended that every fisherman should have one and use it on every fishing trip, just in case of the unexpected.

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First Fisheries Monitoring and Management Consultation (FMMC) with the Funafuti Community on the Funafuti reef fishery

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The Tuvalu Fisheries Department (TFD) organised a consultation with the Funafuti community, Fale Kaupule, Kaupule, Funafuti Fishermen’s Association and outer island leaders on monitoring and management of coastal reef fisheries. The meeting ran for one and a half days, on the 23rd and 24th February 2017 at Tausoa Lima in Funafuti.

The meeting was part of a series designed as a participatory approach to managing the coastal reef fishes of Funafuti. Four main areas were covered during the FMMC:

  1. Status of the Resources: Results of Fisheries Department Creel surveys carried out since April 2015;
  2. Description of Management Options that could be used to recover the fishery;
  3. Working Group session for participants to discuss the options and overall approach to monitoring and management;
  4. Conclusions with instructions to TFD on how to proceed.

This is the first fisheries consultation to be held in order to obtain the views of the community. Further meetings will be held in April and July this year. It is expected that a draft Funafuti Reef Fishery Management Plan will be produced around September this year.

The creel survey information highlighted the overfished state of many of the reef fishes and the need to manage them to increase the production of fish. The community showed their support of improving and manage the Funafuti reef fisheries for now and future generations.

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Closed: Re-advertised Outer Islands Data Collectors for Tuvalu Fisheries Department (16/3/17)

TFD Logo - final 24Feb15The Tuvalu Fisheries Department is inviting suitably qualified young men and women of a minimum age of 18 years to fill the vacant positions of 5 Outer Island Data Collectors (OIDCs) for the islands of: NANUMAGA, NUI, NUKUFETAU, FUNAFUTI, and NUKULAELAE.

Applicants must be physically and mentally fit and should be a permanent resident of the island he/she is applying from, as the selection will be island-based. The objective of the recruitment is to create a team of data collectors to collect information on fishing activities and catches on the islands of Tuvalu on behalf of the Fisheries Department.

Scope of Work

Each data collector will be responsible for organising his/her time to interview fishermen, collect data and properly measure and weigh all fishes caught and landed by fishermen in sample landings. All data collected will be transmitted to the Tuvalu Fisheries Department by hard copy on each trip of the inter-islands shipping services and where possible electronically.

Data Collectors are under the supervision of the Principal Fisheries Officer (PFO): Coastal Fisheries and Senior Fisheries Officer (SFO): Management (Outer Islands) and their responsibilities will include:

  • Carrying out regular data collections of all fisheries activities being undertaken on the assigned island through meeting fishers as they land their catch, and recording all data required in English;
  • Undertaking training in Funafuti as may be required by the PFO or SFO;
  • Maintain all equipment and report losses, or breakages immediately with minimal disruptions;
  • Undertake regular self-training using books, electronic or other sources to learn the scientific names of all fished resources, continuously improving personal knowledge as time goes on;
  • Carefully maintaining all data collected, checking them, ensuring they are complete, storing them safely and sending them to Funafuti with each vessel trip to the island;
  • Attending meetings with fishers, the Kaupule, Falekaupule or community held by Coastal staff from Funafuti during their regular metronome trips;
  • Assisting with logistics and surveys being carried out by Coastal Staff during their regular metronome trips;
  • Carrying out any other fisheries-related tasks as may be assigned by the PFO or SFO.

Qualifications & Experience

  • Applicants are required to have passed Form 6 examinations from a recognized secondary school;
  • The ability and willingness to organise sampling schedules within the work time allocated, and efficiently gather data from fishers landing their catches at night or very early morning;
  • Willingness to continuously improve their ability to scientifically identify all fished species and do on-going work;
  • Possess outstanding data collection skills to ensure data are accurate and fully recorded;
  • Good inter-personal communication skills;
  • Good command of written English and the ability to translate Tuvaluan on-the-fly to English for recording responses on the datasheets;
  • Ability to meet deadlines; and,
  • Any kind of tertiary qualification in science, especially biology, previous work-experience in any type of data collection, particularly in a fisheries-related field is an advantage.

Detailed terms of reference of these positions, remuneration package and other relevant information are available for collection at the Coastal Management Unit of the Fisheries Department Office or by sending an email to jobs@tuvalufisheries.tv.

All applications are required to be addressed to the Director, Fisheries Department, Government Building, Vaiaku Funafuti before 4:00pm on 16th March 2017 by either hard copy or email to jobs@tuvalufisheries.tv  before the closing date and time.

Application Checklist

Please ensure you attach all the following information as your application:

  • Application cover letter outlining your experience and suitability for the post
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) including the following headings:
    • Name, Expertise, Nationality, Address & contacts
    • Qualifications: highest school, certificates and other
    • Languages and level of proficiency (Native, Excellent, Good, Basic)
    • Affiliations if any (e.g. membership to associations, NGOs)
    • Countries of work experience, if any
    • Employment history, including past job and projects
    • Names of 2-3 referees
  • Transcripts of Education, Qualifications, Certificates etc.
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Closed: Outer Islands Data Collectors for Tuvalu Fisheries Department (24/2/17)

TFD Logo - final 24Feb15The Tuvalu Fisheries Department is inviting suitably qualified young men and women of a minimum age of 18 years to fill the vacant positions of 8 Outer Island Data Collectors (OIDCs) on each island. Applicants must be physically and mentally fit and should be a permanent resident of the island he/she is applying from as the selection will be based on which island applicant is applying from. The objectives of the recruitment is to create a team of data collectors to collect information on fishing activities and catches on all the islands of Tuvalu on behalf of the Fisheries Department.

Scope of Work

Each data collector will be responsible for organising his/her time to interview fishermen, collect data and properly measure and weigh all fishes caught and landed by fishermen. All data collected will be transmitted to the Tuvalu Fisheries Department by hard copy on each trip of the inter-islands shipping services and where possible electronically.

Data Collectors are under the supervision of the Principal Fisheries Officer – (Coastal Fisheries) and Senior Fisheries Officer – Management (Outer Islands) and their responsibilities will include:

  1. Carrying out regular data collections of all fisheries activities being undertaken on the assigned island through meeting fishers of all kinds as they land their catch, and recording all data required in English;
  2. Undertaking training in Funafuti as may be required by the PFO or SFO;
  3. Maintain all equipment and report losses, or breakages immediately with minimal disruptions;
  4. Undertake regular self-training using books, electronic or other sources to learn the scientific names of all fished resources, continuously improving personal knowledge as time goes on;
  5. Carefully maintaining all data collected, checking them, ensuring they are complete, storing them safely and sending them to Funafuti with each vessel trip to the island;
  6. Attending meetings with fishers, the Kaupule, Falekaupule or community held by Coastal staff from Funafuti during their regular metronome trips;
  7. Assisting with logistics and surveys being carried out by Coastal Staff during their regular metronome trips;
  8. Carrying out any other fisheries-related tasks as may be assigned by the PFO or SFO.

Qualifications & Experiences

  1. Applicants are required to have passed Form 6 examinations from a recognized secondary school;
  2. The ability and willingness to organise sampling schedules within the work time allocated, and efficiently gather data from fishers landing their catches at night or very early morning;
  3. Willingness to continuously improve their ability to scientifically identify all fished species and do on-going work;
  4. Possess outstanding data collection skills to ensure data are accurate and fully recorded;
  5. Good inter-personal communication skills;
  6. Good command of written English and the ability to translate Tuvaluan on-the-fly to English for recording responses on the datasheets;
  7. Ability to meet deadlines; and,
  8. Any kind of tertiary qualification in science, especially biology, previous work-experience in any type of data collection, particularly in a fisheries-related field is an advantage.

Detail term of reference of these positions, remuneration package and other relevant information are available for collection at the Coastal Management Unit of the Fisheries Department Office or email to these addresses moeof@tuvalufisheries.tv and lotokufakip@tuvalufisheries.tv.

All applications are required to be addressed to the Director, Fisheries Department, Government Building, Vaiaku Funafuti before close of office on Friday 24th February 2017 at 4.00pm.

Applicants applying from the outer islands may send their applications by boat or email to the following addresses: jobs@tuvalufisheries.tv before the closing date and time.

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Coastal Fisheries Meeting with Funafuti Fisherman Association (FFA/FTFF)

The Coastal Fisheries section held a meeting with the Funafuti Fisherman Association on the 9th February 2017 Thursday in the Funafuti Lagoon Hotel conference room. The meeting was commenced at 9;15 am led by the Principal Fisheries Officer of the Coastal division.

The meeting was about sharing information with the Funafuti Fisherman Association actually about their by catches from 2013 to 2016 on the artisanal data collection, creel survey results from mid-2015 to 2016, information on Ciguatera Fish Poisoning & fish exports and a little reminder from the acting Principal officer of the Operation and Development section on sea safety, smoke fish training that to be started next week on Friday the 17th of February, 2017. The Operation & Development officer also inform the serious news to fisherman’s participating in the meeting that they will have the donation fund from the government on outboard motors spare parts which  $6000 AUD.

Fishermen also came up with some issues, on the effect of Fisheries department FADs that were deployed, cause too hard to see and find fish with these FADs, oil spill that is frequently falling out lately in the capital Funafuti, the widespread growing of the new seaweed in the lagoon and the outer reef, and the demanding for grab bags. Most of the fishermen did not receive their share due to not enough of grab bags. The meeting ends up with resolutions that help gratify each and everyone participating and sharing information in the meeting.

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Closed: Request for EOI for Information and Technology Consultant (22/2/17)

TUVALU Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP) | Fisheries Sector | CONSULTING SERVICES | Grant No: D016-TV / TF 018605 | Project ID No: P151780

Request for Expressions of Interest for an Information and Technology Consultant to improve the Tuvalu Fisheries Department Information System

The Tuvalu Government has received financing from the World Bank toward the cost of the PROP, and intends to apply part of the proceeds for consultant services. The services include the improving of the Tuvalu Fisheries Department (TFD) existing information system as well as designing a new IT system for its new office building with VMS requirement. He/She will also prepare technical specifications of IT equipment for the new office.

TFD now invites eligible consultants (individual) to indicate their interest in providing the above mentioned services. Interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (brochures, description of similar assignments, experience in similar conditions, and availability of appropriate skills) with their CVs.

A consultant will be selected in accordance with the procedures set out in the World Bank’s Guidelines: Selection and Employment of Consultants by World Bank Borrowers (January 2011 edition).

Interested consultants may obtain further information at the address below during Tuvalu office hours: 0800 to 1700 OR by email address given below.

Expressions of interest must be delivered to the same address by 22 February 2017.

PROP Office

Attn: Project Coordinator

Fisheries Department

Funafuti, TUVALU

Tel: +688 20 348

E-mail: proptuv@gmail.com / proptuv@tuvalufisheries.tv

Web site: www.tuvalufisheries.tv

Download the TOR for the position here: TFD 160117 TOR IT Consultancy 220217

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