This latter semester of 2019 mainly centered on implementing as many activities as possible under the project. MIMRA had moved into its new, state-of-the-art building with PROP financing the fully operational Information Communications and Technology (ICT) equipment and an MCS Operations Center (MCSOC), complete with Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and with World Bank (WB) authorizing RMI PROP to hire the necessary staff to carry out the additional workload. The newly recruited Procurement Specialist head started with the procuring of several packages and activities planned for the project in this second semester.
As a result, the PROP project disbursed about 45% of the IDA grant and 23% of the GEF grant by the end of December of the reporting period.
Component 1: Sustainable Management of Oceanic Fisheries
For increased surveillance and enforcement of fisheries management, the National 4IA industry workshop was carried out in October 2019 facilitated by consultant Mr. Les Clark. PROP has successfully supported the MIMRA Legal Counsel to deliver important fisheries legislation training to the Department of Justice and MIMRA officials. Simultaneously, MIMRA effectively engaged with regional partners in meeting/ trainings including PNA, FFA, SPC and entities as the WCPFC including chairing and co-chairing of small working groups (e.g. Transshipment SWG and Compliance Monitoring Report SWG).
Around early 2019, the Competent Authority Advisor was hired directly by MIMRA and not the Project. The Advisor undertook two scoping missions (Kiribati & PNG) to prepare a detailed timeline, workplan and budget for the establishment of the RMI CA. MIMRA pursues to focus on initiatives that are to function as the Competent Authority for compliance of RMI fish export products with European Union market state requirements. Having said this, MIMRA proactively established the development of national control plans and development of RMI Seafood Industry Standards towards this objective.
Under this component, PROP had successfully delivered the whole IT system purchase and installation for the MIMRA new building with significant cost savings except for the UPS installation which remained pending and would likely be completed prior to closure.
Component 2: Sustainable Management of Coastal Fisheries
Sustainable management and development of coastal marine resources is the overriding aim of MIMRA’s Coastal Division. The Nitijela (Parliament) has passed regulations governing aquaculture and an amendment to the Protect Area Network (PAN) Act, prepared using PROP financing to bring PAN under MIMRA’s mandate. The Reimaanlok Framework has made progress despite significant delays partly due to an extended travel ban to the outer islands following a dengue outbreak. However, under the Reimaanlok plans, the Coastal team were able to conduct diving surveys at Dren Mweo, Majuro and Arno, Ailinglaplap, Namu, Jabat and Bikar and Bokak. The vessel chartered for the trip was the Charter of Indies. Fortunately, the Team that took the expedition trip to Bikak and Bokak were joined by SPC, NZ and the Coastal Team.
MIMRA is nearing completion of construction of the new intake pipe at the Woja Aquaculture facility and has repaired and/or replaced six of eight raceway tanks. There was a recruitment of the Aqua and Biosecurity officers under the activity.
The Coastal division expands to support resource assessment, community consultations, training workshops and development/ implementation of local coastal fishery management arrangements in outer islands and Majuro. Through PROP, MIMRA provides equipment and fishing gear to small-scale fishers in selected outer islands; in turn purchasing their catch for sale in Majuro. In response to Cabinet’s request, the project will finance the expansion of this successful program to incorporate additional outer islands in PROP. PMU is working on finalizing the technical specifications for the FADs and the Fish Collection and Marketing Program.
A Vessel Specification Advisor was recruited in September 2019, under the project to assist MIMRA in purchasing the type of research vessel needed to conduct the coastal fisheries research needed by the Coastal Fisheries team.
Component 4: Project Management
The Deputy Project Coordinator had recently been hired and had slowly progressed in advancing key procurement packages. With the new request for restructure, the PMU agreed to submit a revised project budget, work plan and procurement plan to the Bank. There were submissions of Interim Financial Reports (IFR) for the period ending September, 2019 and period ending December, 2019. Additionally, the financial year report was submitted in a timely manner.
The development of standard operating procedures for high-risk activities, including diving and boating, as well as bio-sampling are in progress by the CIU ESMF Specialist.
During this period, there was a Medium-Term Review mission conducted from August 23 – 30th 2019 with the completion of Medium-Term Review consultancy to assess MIMRA’s interest to extend the project’s closing date to permit the successful delivery of all planned activities.
For capacity building, the project accountant attended the APIPA Training in Guam as well as the Ocean Finance workshop held in Fiji, both the project accountant and project Coordinator attended.
As reflected in Table below, disbursement progress for the period in certain activities reflected while other activities reflected no disbursement.