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School of Business and Management

Training industry leaders: the Pacific Island countries and the Global Fisheries Trade

Dr Liam Campling from QMUL and Dr Elizabeth Havice from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recently returned from the Solomon Islands where they delivered a week long training course on trade policy, global value chains and fisheries. 

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The training was hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), and was attended by 24 individuals working in trade, legal and fisheries departments across 12 different FFA member countries (the Cook Islands, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanatu).

Though small and remote island states, FFA member countries are well known for their rich fisheries resources, especially tuna, and their large ocean jurisdictions which connect them to global markets with high demand for marine resources and allow them to leverage domestic and regional economic development and food security.

Dr Campling and Dr Havice’s segment of the training programme focused on the relationship between trade and fisheries development in the Pacific. It included modules on trade theory and history, theories of the multinational firm and global value chains, and the technicalities and politics of market access to the EU and US. The programme challenged participants to partake in simulated negotiations on active trade and fisheries policy debates.

Feedback from participants was positive and directly recognized the impact the training week will have on fisheries development and policy in the Pacific Islands:

“The first week of training was very eye-opening in some aspects and very much relevant to the fisheries industry in the Pacific Island countries. The most useful was the Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis. Understanding GVC is key for Pacific Island countries that want to prioritise their productive sector.”

“I will definitely be applying some of the ideas on fisheries development which came out from the training, including interactions among the private fisheries sector, policy development and trade negotiations.”

Dr Campling and Dr Havice were excited about the information and expertise exchange across trade and fisheries divisions and to have the opportunity to deploy their pedagogic interests with decision makers. Dr Liam Campling reflected that '"It was encouraging to see how our efforts to translate the analytical insights of academic work into real-world discussion were so actively taken up by participants. There was a real thirst for new, critical approaches in the room. 

Fisheries are crucial to the Pacific Islands as a source of government revenue, jobs and food security. I got into studying the global tuna industry because of long-term injustices in the distribution of wealth produced in the industry, but the associated risks of environmental decline are borne disproportionately by Islanders. The Pacific Islands are a success story of cooperation. By collectively standing up to big corporate players and the most powerful countries in the world the Pacific Islands have been able to capture a far greater slice of the pie."

The Director General of FFA identified the event as an important part of building capacity to achieve the region’s Roadmap for Sustainable Fisheries and lauded that almost three quarters of the participants were women: