Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

Task Force established for tuna headquarters

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): February 21, 2003 - A Tuna Commission Task Force has been created in the Federated States of Micronesia to administer and coordinate the establishment of the Headquarter for the Tuna Commission in Pohnpei.

In November 2002, the FSM was awarded the bid to host the Headquarters for the Tuna Commission or the Commission for the Conservation and Management of the Highly Migratory Fish Stock in the Central and Western Pacific Ocean. The FSM dedicated the subsequent months to internal consultations and identification of a body to advance the establishment of the headquarters.

In January of 2003, President Leo A. Falcam appointed the Secretary of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure - Akillino H. Susaia to chair the high-level Task Force that include the following membership of top officials:

  • Ieske K. Iehsi, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs;
  • Sebastian Anefal, Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs;
  • John Ehsa, Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration, and;
  • Paul McIlrath, Secretary of the Department of Justice, and;
  • Jack E. Yakana, Lieutenant Governor - Pohnpei State Government.

The Task Force has, upon creation, met with both State and Municipal officials to strengthen the collaboration between the three sides and iron out the location details of the Headquarter for the Tuna Commission of the Pacific Region.

The Tuna Commission is the brainchild of the Convention for the Conservation and Management of the Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, which is patterned after the 1995 United Nation's Fish Stocks Agreement. The Convention is one of the first regional fisheries management agreements. It also involves both the Pacific Coastal States and those States with fishing interests in the Pacific region.

The objective of the Convention, generally, is to ensure through effective management, the long-term conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stock within the Convention area in accordance with the Convention and the Agreement.

In accordance with the Convention, the proposed Tuna Commission will manage the fish stocks on the high seas outside of each nation's 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) with responsibilities that encompass the management, conservation and optimum utilization of one of the Pacific region's richest natural resources - fish stocks.

The establishment of the Tuna Commission is pending the Convention's entry into force, which according to agreed provision, require the ratification of certain number of signatory States:

a. three States situated north of the 20 parallel north latitude or from: (Canada, China, France, Japan, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States)

b. seven States situated south of the 20 parallel of north latitude or from: (Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Indonesia, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Republic of Palau, Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Philippines, Independent State of Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, and the Republic of Vanuatu)

Nineteen States have to date, signed the Convention: Australia, Canada, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Indonesia, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America and Vanuatu.

Five signatory States have, by December 2002, ratified the Convention: Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356