National Consultation on Community -Based Fisheries Management Program in Samoa
Samoa through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries initiated the Community-based fisheries management program (CBFMP) in 1995 under the assistant from Australian Aid program (AusAID) at the time. After 5 year of AusAID assistance, MAF continues to implement CBFMP with modifications and adaptation of co-management systems that suits from time to time.
The CBFMP is an approach to engage local coastal villages to sustainably manage, conserve and develop coastal resources as well as marine environment.
The functions of the CBFMP are mainly assisting villages to develop and adopt Village Fisheries Management Plans, develop and enforce village bylaws, establish village owned fish reserves and management areas, develop and sustain livelihoods opportunities through aquaculture and diversification of fishing technologies. To date, more than 100 coastal villages actively participating in this successful program.
This two day national consultations for Upolu aims at bringing together key actors and actresses from all participating villages, mainly village mayors and women’s representative to share, network and continue to dialogue on lessons learnt, experiences, advantages and weaknesses of this program.
It is an opportunity for the Fisheries Division MAF to empower and strengthen ties with local villages on key principles of the program. Our primary goal is to ensure adequate supply of seafood for sustainable food security and economic livelihood for our nationals.
Our local villages are the resource owners and they depend highly on these resources, therefore they are also responsible to conserve, protect, manage and utilize these resources sustainably.
Some of the community achievements of this program include formulation and adoption of village fisheries management plan, approved village bylaws, farming of giant clams, vast distribution of trochus (aliao), sea grape farming, mangrove crabs, tilapia, deployment of nearshore Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and village owned fish reserves.
MAF would also like to acknowledge the ongoing technical assistance and financial support of the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the implementation of this awareness program. The consultations will be extended to participating coastal villages in Savaii later this week.
The outcome and the recommendations from these national consultations will be very useful in the scaling up of the Samoa’s CBFM program.