World Bank sanctions fund to strengthen fisheries management

Project will initially support four Pacific Island countries

By Moushumi Sharma
Published: Tuesday 23 December 2014

Many economies in the Pacific Islands depend on coastal ecosystems for food and livelihood (Photo: UN)

The World Bank has sanctioned US $32.97 million to strengthen the management of fisheries in select Pacific islands. The International Development Association (IDA) grant will support the Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Programme (PROP) to improve the sustainable use of oceanic and coastal fisheries and the critical habitats on which they depend, says a press release of The World Bank. PROP will initially provide funding to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, but it will eventually expand the number of countries involved.

“Oceanic and coastal fisheries in the Pacific are reaching their long-term sustainable limits due to environmental changes and overfishing by vessels from outside the region. Collaboration among Pacific nations to secure the health of fisheries is essential to regional economic integration and growth. PROP will support this by building on existing fisheries management policies and frameworks already adopted by governments and administrations in the region,” James Movick, director general of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, said in the press release.

PROP will further ensure that the benefits generated are shared equitably among the Pacific Island countries. The programme will also protect critical fishery habitats by creating financing mechanisms to fund the conservation of protected marine areas in the region.
The economies of many Pacific Island countries are driven by a strong reliance on healthy coastal ecosystems for food, livelihoods, weather protection and resilience to shocks,” said John Virdin, senior natural resources management specialist for the World Bank. As the threat from climate change grows throughout the region—including sea-level rises and the potential for more intense and frequent storm events—maintaining or restoring healthy ocean environments and resources will be fundamental to building resilience to climatic shocks, he adds.

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