Back to Majuro, my new "home" in the Pacific / by Francisco Blaha

Last year I wrote an extensive post about Majuro in the Marshall Islands, with over 700 transhipments a year is a key player in the tuna world. Is a unique place for many reasons and it would be a big part of my life for the next couple of years. 

I'm on my way there now, as I was invited to be part of the team at the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) as their Offshore Fisheries Advisor, a position funded by New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

I'm quite stoked about the prospect since I truly enjoy working there and the position is based on a long term involvement with the MIMRA team. I would work with them for 200 days, with 160 days based there in 8 blocks of 3 weeks each over the next 2 years.

Broadly, my job entitles the following:

  • Capacity development and institutional strengthening for an improved capacity of MIMRA staff in a strong, positive, and enabling environment for the development and sustainable use of fisheries resources;
  • Technical advice on the sustainable development and management of the offshore fishery to create improved livelihoods and economic benefits;
  • Technical advice on systems improvements to implement improved Port States Measures and traceability systems to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

But I what really dig about it, is that implies a long term commitment, which allows you to really be part of the organization I'll be working with, and in some way of the community, I'll be living in. And I'm really keen on that! 

As I said before, I work with the people that work with fish and to achieve results, to just do 1 week fly in, deliver some paper based training and head out, does not really cut the cake in most cases... at least for me. 

One of the reasons I love working in Noro (Solomons) is because I have been going there for a long time and that relationship and trust with the local crew is the one that allows us to move forwards and achieve things.

I like the people I'll be working with in Majuro, the chances to try new and better ways to do our job are fantastic, the ocean around the Marshalls has all the goods I love (sailing, spearfishing, surfing, etc.), the place has a fascinating and troubled story and the country is a the crossroads of many of the key issues of our time.

I'm really looking forwards to this opportunity, and I'm truly thankful to my colleagues in MIMRA and to NZ MFAT for trusting me with it.