The Oceanic Fisheries Division (OFD) is a division within the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resource Development (MFMRD) oversees management of offshore fisheries inside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Kiribati to ensure for continued maximising income generation from the fishery, in particular tuna resource, as well as development and implementation of pragmatic measures advocated at the national, regional and international level to ensure long-term conservation and sustainability of the offshore resources.
As the name implies, OFD comprises of two key units; Licence and Compliance – each with separate work programs and activities. The Licence Unit focuses on the licensing of fishing and supporting vessels and collection, management, analysis of offshore fisheries data such as fishing effort, catch composition, weekly position, revenue, port calls and transhipment activities from licensed fishing vessels.
The Compliance Unit, on the other hand, is the enforcement arm of the division when dealing with non-compliance issues of fishing activities conducted by licensed fishing vessels inside Kiribati EEZ. Principal to the work agenda of this unit is all about observance to fishing activities in conformity with the condition of the licence, laws and regulations of Kiribati and measures adopted at fisheries bodies to which Kiribati is a member.
In addition, the VMS and Kiribati Observer (KIOB) play vital roles to support and complement work programs and activities of these units. The division is also a participatory and core member to border security and law enforcement bodies such as the Combined Law Agency Group (CLAG) and Fisheries Administrative Penalty Committee (FAPCOM) in dealing with border security issues and illegal fishing activities – globally termed Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The OFD is currently head by the Director and assisted by Principal Fisheries Officers, Fisheries Officers, Data Technicians, Boarding and Compliance Officers, VMS Officer, Observer Debriefers, let alone corporate staff. Activities of the division are reported directly by the Director of Fisheries to the Secretary who reports it to the Minister.