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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Solomon Islander takes up Deputy Director General's position at FFA

A Solomon Islander, Dr. Transform Aqorau has become the first Pacific Islander since the establishment of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) 27 years ago to be appointed as Deputy Director-General of the FFA.

Dr. Aqorau was appointed by the 63rd meeting of the Forum Fisheries Committee which is the governing council of the FFA, which met in Apia, Samoa from 4-8 December. The appointment of the Deputy Director-General followed the resignation of the incumbent, Mr. Steve Dunn of Australia in May this year.

Dr. Aqorau said "that he saw the position as a great challenge especially coming in as the first Pacific Islander to be appointed to the position. He promised that he would do his best to maintain the high standard of service that the FFA has provided to its member countries since its establishment".

He said "I know it is not an easy job, having served under five Deputy Directors. I have seen the stress that goes with the office because essentially you are responsible for ensuring the technical programmes of the FFA are delivered effectively".

Dr. Aqorau who holds a doctorate in law is a specialist international fisheries lawyer. He paid tribute to the Solomon Islands government for its support for his candidacy and also to the members of the Committee for their support.

Before being appointed as Deputy Director General, Dr. Aqorau was Legal Counsel of the FFA, and had been working since September as the Interim Deputy Director-General. He previously worked in the Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Suva based, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as Legal Adviser.

Dr. Aqorau said, "the region's tuna resources needs to be managed and sustained so that Pacific Islanders can fully realise the benefits that they receive from their tuna resources. For far too long, FFA Members have been exercising the sovereign rights that they have over the tuna resources to benefit foreigners, but that will all change with the introduction of limits. The adoption of the Vessel Day Scheme with the work that is currently being undertaken on exploring the development options for albacore tuna will soon ensure that Pacific islanders are in the driving seat, and not the other way around. Already the Vessel Day Scheme is creating opportunities not hitherto seen before".

The Director-General, Mr. Dan Sua welcomed the appointment of Dr. Aqorau and expressed his appreciation for the landmark decision by the Forum Fisheries Committee. Dr. Aqorau paid tribute to members of the Forum Fisheries Committee and thanked the members of the Committee for their support and confidence in him by appointing him to the position.

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