The Offshore Fisheries Division provides technical and policy support to its industry stakeholders, whilst implementing sustainable management measures as set out in offshore fisheries management plans.
Technical and policy advice is provided to Government to assist in the formulation of national policies, aimed at ensuring maximum economic benefits are accrued to the Cook Islands from its fisheries resources.
The division establishes and manages systems within the Oceans Monitoring Centre such as vessel monitoring system (VMS), port sampling and observers, catch reporting, and database management, that ensure compliance with any and all management measures and maintain sustainability of the key fish stocks.
This covers all licensed vessels fishing in the waters of the Cook Islands and on the High Seas.
The Division also assists in ensuring that the Cook Islands meets its obligations nationally, regionally and internationally with proactive participation to ensure Cook Islands interests are realised.
Implement and enforce relevant Tuna Management Plans and relevant associated Regulations.
Facilitate broader initiatives to look at expanding the export of fish to overseas markets, and to look at advances in fishing and food technology.
Promote sanitary standards through appropriate legislation and practical implementation to apply to all Cook Islands fish products wherever they may be sold or exported to.
Provide leading role in international trade related to fisheries.
Provide key Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) services on behalf of the Cook Islands for all licensed vessels.
Manage all fisheries data and ensure all vessels comply with reporting provisions.
Ensure all Cook Island Licensed vessels able to be tracked with VMS (vessel monitoring systems).
The Division manages several programmes including:
- The Cook Islands Fisheries Observer Programme
- Data Management
- Vessel licensing
- The Cook Islands Fisheries Field Office in Pago Pago, American Samoa