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President Panuelo Submits FSM National Oceanic Fisheries Investment Policy for Congress’ Consideration
PALIKIR, Pohnpei—On September 16th, 2021, His Excellency David W. Panuelo—President of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)—submitted the “National Oceanic Fisheries Investment Policy for the FSM 2021-2026: A Policy to Maximize Value of Participatory Rights under the Vessel Day Scheme” to the 22nd FSM Congress. The Policy, which had been in development for the previous five years as a result of the 9th State & National Leadership Conference (SNLC), aims to support economic growth in the FSM.
The five years of workshops, seminars, conferences, and consultations at State and National levels, and engagement with the fishing industry and other private sector partners, the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), and the Pacific Community (SPC), culminated in a Fisheries Summit held at the end of August and beginning of September 2021. The Fisheries Summit concluded with common agreement that the Policy will improve the investment climate in the FSM.
“Fisheries remain our largest source of local revenue,” President Panuelo said at the Fisheries Summit. “Revenue from fisheries has grown fourfold, from fifteen (15) million dollars in 2018 to sixty-eight (68) million dollars annually today. During this period of growth, the FSM has become a major fishing state, with 28 purse seiners flagged to the FSM, and 17 longliners flagged and based in the FSM.”
“Pohnpei and Kosrae have risen to be two of the busiest ports in the Pacific. The FSM has seen transshipments averaging 844 purse seine transshipments and 430 longline transshipments annually between 2017 to 2020. Kosrae’s port, with its innovative reefer container transshipments, exported 810 forty-foot reefer containers in 2019, which increased to 899 reefer containers in 2020, and is expected to export around 1,566 reefer containers by the end of 2021. This has resulted in employment opportunities for FSM citizens in Kosrae,” President Panuelo continued, noting that a fish processing plant established in Kosrae State is capable of producing upwards of fifty metric tons of frozen tuna daily, and that further onshore investments are crucial for the Nation’s economic development.
The Fisheries Policy signals a shift in focus for the FSM ensure its fisheries sector generates more economic activities that can themselves contribute to economic growth. It is the FSM National Government’s intention for the Policy to galvanize all stakeholders to commit to actions in harmonizing and improving the fisheries investment climate in the FSM. Among other intended benefits, the Government through the National Oceanic Resources Management Authority (NORMA) is developing a long-term partnership with the Nation’s biggest and longest-residing partner in the fisheries sector, Liangcheng, to utilize the Nation’s large longline Party Allowable Effort (PAE) that will translate into transshipment in all four FSM States.
In his letter to the Honorable Wesley W. Simina, Speaker of the 22nd FSM Congress, President Panuelo wrote that “The Panuelo-George Administration fully supports Fisheries Policy and calls on the Congress to join forces with my Administration to begin the work of its implementation.”
The Fisheries Policy may be found here: https://gov.fm/files/FSM_NATIONAL_OCEANIC_FISHERIES_INVESTMENT_POLICY_2021-2026_final_draft_as_of_9_1_2021.pdf