PROP Summary Progress Report 2017: July-December

Oceanic Division: Action included one fisheries surveillance patrol utilizing RMI Sea Patrol’s Lomor vessel, several capacity building activities for Oceanic Division staff, and the first joint FSM-RMI PROP regional procurement for fisheries observer communication devices coordinated by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) project management unit.
Coastal Division: Staff actively engaged in completing Reimaanlok (Looking to the Future) activities on the five targeted atolls, completing its last deployment of subsurface fish aggregating device (FAD), working with a donor partner to update coastal policies, and attending the annual meeting for members of the Coral Reef Taskforce as well as convening the monthly Coastal Management Advisory Council (CMAC) meetings.
Although the PROP project initially experienced slow funding disbursement and implementation in some areas, these issues are being addressed through engagement of consultants, additional staff and other measures. In addition, longer- term projects such as establishment of a Competent Authority and improvement of ICT activities are now in development.

PROP activities with MIMRA Oceanic and Coastal Divisions:
1. Oceanic Action

● A first round of fisheries surveillance with Sea Patrol Lomor vessel was completed. The area of surveillance covered the northwestern area of the RMI EEZ, an area not normally covered during joint regional surveillance operations. Although no Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) activities were detected, several operational and procedural issues were identified. For future surveillance activities, MIMRA will consider utilizing PROP funds to resolve some of the issues.

● PROP provided funding for one or two select technical staff to accompany MIMRA management to routine regional and international fisheries workshops, conferences, and meetings to build capacity. During this period, MIMRA technical staff attended the WCPFC Technical and Compliance Committee meeting, and FFA Management Options Consultations. In addition, PROP supported a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) workshop conducted by FFA by providing enhanced Internet capabilities necessary to access the VMS. Finally, PROP funded the MCS Compliance Officer who was invited to NOAA Inouye Regional Center in Hawaii for a boarding and compliance training and a Fisheries Officer to an “R” programming training. Both trainings exposed staff to latest developments in their respective fields with latter providing the Fisheries Officers an additional tool for data analysis and reports.

● To accommodate larger class sizes of Fisheries Observer Refresher Courses, PROP funded an additional trainer to assist the primary observer trainer.

● First joint regional procurement activity with FSM was successfully completed. The FFA PMU procurement specialist was instrumental incoordinating the purchase of Rockstar satellite units for the Observer Program.
2. Coastal Action

● Reimaanlok management plans were advanced for five outer islands through visits the Coastal team made to Aur, Maloelap, Mejit, Wotje and Utrik. Trips included three components: Underwater assessments, socioeconomic surveys, and initial community consultations. These are key steps leading to the drafting portion of the process, or stage 4 of 8 stages, of the Reimaanlok process.

● As part of the building livelihood program, the last subsurface fish aggregating device (FAD) was deployed September 15, 2017 near the Majuro Bridge. After deployment, the team monitored previously deployed FADs around the Peace Park location to check status of installations and fish schools congregating.

● PROP funded off island training/meeting opportunities for Coastal staff. Two Coastal Fisheries staff members represented the RMI during the Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in Florida August 4-16, 2017. The theme of the meeting was “Healthy Reefs for a Healthy Economy.” It allowed Coastal staff to engage in key coral reef management issues and share lessons learned such as coral disease outbreaks, community engagement in coral reef resource management, and ecological and economic values of coral reefs.

● A Reimaanlok (Looking to the Future) workshop was held with Coastal Management Advisory Council (CMAC) members to update the Reimaanlok Facilitator’s Guide in preparation for the 2018 workshop with IUCN to update the “Reimaanlok: Conservation Area Plan of the Marshall Islands” document.
Key indicators for the PROP Project:
Component 1 — Sustainable Oceanic Fisheries

Actions by and audits of MIMRA show that it is meeting important indicators. For example, the Marshall Islands is meeting the established target for intermediate results by participating in the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) pooling arrangement for the sale of fishing days. MIMRA is also meeting the target for intermediate results by supporting the implementation of the Longline Vessel Days Scheme (VDS) system. Currently, the Marshall Islands encourages its bilateral partners to list their longline vessels with the PNA Longline Register, an important step in the process of implementing the VDS for longline vessels.
Component 2 — Sustainable Coastal Fisheries

MIMRA’s Coastal Division is meeting its target for results by completing resource assessments for 10 out of the target 12 for year three. For results in management of domestic export fisheries, MIMRA is developing two coastal export fisheries management plans and related regulations. One is a Trochus management plan and regulations, and the other is an aquaculture management plan and regulations. RMI will first complete the Trochus management plan and regulations after a coastal policy advisor is hired to assist with drafting the regulations. The policy advisor will also assist with coastal management technical and compliance regulations.