MASA: What and Why, How Will It Work?

What is MASA?

A network organization aimed at developing the aquaculture sector of members. It is an independent body owned and operated by its member governments. It works through technical cooperation among the members and other participating governments. It was initiated by governments of the region and assisted in its establishment by FAO with a technical cooperation project.

Why a MASA?

A network of government agencies, centres and institutions facilitates the development, adaptation, sharing and adoption of technology, and the building of institutional capacities. It is cost-effective. It brings together national resources into a massive regional pool of intellectual and material resources to resolve common problems. By so doing, it also makes better use of donor assistance.

  1. The founding charter lays out three development objectives of the organization:
    improve nutrition and health, increase food production and food security and support rural development and wealth generation through ensuring the sustainable development and management of aquaculture and culture-based fisheries in the sub-region
  2. strengthen the collective capacities of the sub-region, including securing necessary financial and other resources, and to develop the aquaculture and culture-based fisheries sectors in the Micronesian sub-region in a sustainable manner
  3. ensure the conservation and sustainable use of resources and environment in aquaculture and culture-based fisheries by striving to minimize harmful impacts and maintain a healthy environment and ecosystems through the an ecosystem approach to aquaculture management and tools in aquaculture and culture-based fisheries activities.

How will it work?

To achieve the objectives, MASA will perform these functions:

  1. provide Members with a forum to discuss issues on aquaculture and culture-based fisheries;
  2. promote, initiate, coordinate and perform research, as appropriate, on all aspects of aquaculture and culture-based fisheries in the sub-region;
  3. provide technical advisory services to address aquaculture issues at regional and sub-regional level;
  4. develop capacity of national, sub-regional and regional aquaculture institutions and stakeholders,
  5. promote, facilitate and undertake all aspects of aquaculture and culture-based fisheries including the training of farmers and workers and the facilitation of exchange visits;
  6. develop, facilitate and manage information systems to support the needs for aquaculture and culture-based fisheries development of Members, including information and knowledge exchange at different levels along the value chain;
  7. designate or establish national or sub-regional aquaculture centers and coordinate work and facilitate the collection, management and sharing or exchange of scientific and other information and knowledge including indigenous knowledge;
  8. encourage and facilitate the transfer to Members of the appropriate aquaculture knowledge, technologies and techniques developed at national and sub-regional aquaculture centers;
  9. assist Members in formulating appropriate national programs or strategies for development and promotion of sustainable aquaculture and culture-based fisheries;
  10. develop, as appropriate, a sub-regional program or strategy for development and promotion of sustainable aquaculture and culture-based fisheries;
  11. protect the Association’s intellectual property and assist Members in protecting their intellectual property and rights relating to aquaculture and culture based fisheries;
  12. promote cooperation on all aspects of aquaculture and culture-based fisheries among Members, and between the Association and relevant organizations and other entities on the international, regional and sub-regional level;
  13. adopt conservation and management measures for the sustainable use of aquaculture and culture-based fisheries resources;
  14. keep under review economic, social and environmental aspects of aquaculture and culture-based fisheries;

These functions will be discharged through a work program. A three-year technical program has been drafted in two regional workshops by technical and legal officers of the MASA governments with the participation of representatives of regional agencies, national academic institutions, farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, and FAO.

The Technical Work Program, in essence

As this will be the first work program, it aims to elevate aquaculture resources and a worthy area for investment by government and private sector. Briefly, this is the program framework:

Impact: Aquaculture gains higher priority in government development policy and socio-economic development plans.

Outcome: Increased investments from governments and assistance organizations in aquaculture development and from private sector in aquaculture and related enterprises.

Strategic Objectives

  1. Social: Improve food, nutritional and livelihood security for the people in remote islands as well as in more developed areas, promote a fair and equitable sharing of benefits and generate decent employment from the activities along the aquaculture value chain.
  2. Economic: Increase local production and consumption of aquaculture products and expand the options for productive employment and income generation by communities, private investors and governments.
  3. Ecological: Contribute to the enhancement of aquatic natural and biological resources and the resilience of the fragile island ecosystems, through Climate Smart aquaculture systems.
  4. Institutional: Strengthen sub-regional, national and community capacities for sector governance, research, technology development, dissemination and utilization, and environmentally and socially responsible best management production, processing and marketing practices.

Outputs

Social

  1. Production of locally produced aquatic products including those from culture based fishery increased.
  2. Consumption of locally produced aquaculture products increased.
  3. Employment (self-employment and wage) opportunities along the value chain crearted

Economic

  1. Models of investment in small and medium farm business and value-adding enterprises developed and promoted.
  2. Value-added products from local production developed and promoted.
  3. A distinctive Micronesian image of quality aquaculture product is promoted
  4. Production of local inputs especially feed and seed increased

Ecological

  1. National strategies for biodiversity conservation and aquatic animal health management formulated and adopted.
  2. Volume of hatchery produced seed for culture and restocking in appropriate bodies of water of indigenous species increased.

Institutional

  1. Capacities of R and D institutions to develop and promote, and of farmer groups to adopt best management practices strengthened.
  2. Aquaculture associations organized and/or strengthened and professionalized
  3. Manpower for research, extension and production strengthened.
  4. National Aquaculture Development Strategic Action Plans formulated and adopted

The High Level Officials Meeting in Palau on 23-25 November 2015 is expected to finalize the draft Work Program and adopt it.