11 years of Institutional Strengthening for Tuvalu Fisheries (MFAT, World Bank 2012-ongoing)

GPA has been providing project design, institutional strengthening, HRD, training and advisory services for the Tuvalu Fisheries Department since 2012. The work has included 7 significant projects undertaken by GPA staff and associates with a combined value of NZ 30 million dollars:

  1. 2012-2013: Design project for Tuvalu Fisheries called the Institutional Strengthening Project (ISP) funded by MFAT;
  2. 2014-2019: Implementation of the Tuvalu Fisheries Support Programme TFSP, also MFAT-funded;
  3. 2014: Design of the Tuvalu component of the World Bank’s Pacific Islands fisheries strengthening activity, the Pacific Regional Oceanscape Programme (PROP);
  4. 2015-2019: Assistance with the implementation of the World Bank and Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded PROP;
  5. 2015-2016: Oversight of the design and construction of the new Tuvalu Fisheries Building funded by MFAT and built by Calibre New Zealand;
  6. 2020-ongoing: TFSP2 funded by MFAT; and
  7. 2021: PROP2/PROPER Design for Tuvalu.

In addition, while carrying out work associated with of these institutional strengthening activities, GPA’s advisers assisted with the coordination and implementation of the United Nations / GEF funded NAPA II and Ridge to Reef projects because they were such an integral part of the services TFD was required to deliver at community level, and served as mechanisms for institutional learning and staff development.

During the ISP, GPA produced recommendations for the restructuring of the TFD to achieve greater effectiveness, including updating job descriptions for all TFD staff. The goals of these changes were to generate greater revenues for the GoT, employment for Tuvaluans at sea, and to improve the management of inshore fisheries resources. This included expansion of the Oceanic division steps to increase performance in such a complex international role (through oceanic fisheries treaties) and clearer career paths. New positions were developed for surveillance, information and revenue development.

TFSP was a 5 year programme approved in 2014 and was designed to build on the recommendations made in the ISP. GPA provided 2 advisers to deliver this project with a focus on developing and implementing policy frameworks for key offshore and inshore fisheries, equipping the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute (TMTI) to train seafarers in purse-seine fishing, implement a HRD plan, deliver extensive in-service training to TFD staff and contractors, and undertake design work for a new Fisheries Department building and systems.


The PROP was designed to strengthen the management of oceanic and coastal fisheries, and the critical habitats upon which they depend and was an important part of the overall transformation of the TFD. GPA’s advisers in Tuvalu used this opportunity to further consolidate gains made in HRD and used the processes developed under the TFSP in the areas of planning, budgeting and international engagement. Under the PROP GPA was able to, for example, finance multiple training attachments for staff of TFD and other relevant agencies as well as for the private sector, procure equipment needed to establish a laboratory within the new TFD building, purchase research boats and support surveillance of the Tuvalu EEZ. A new fisheries training centre was also planned and, although delayed, is expected to be built soon.

One of the major tasks under the TFSP was the replacement of the multiple, broken-down fisheries buildings with a modern new office and fit-out to support the dramatic changes in how staff carry out their work, improve their sense of commitment and professionalism in providing government services and improve the face of the Fisheries Department. GPA provided assistance to the project in ensuring the building would be fit for purpose, overseeing the installation of servers and an internet system, ensuring environmental compliance through carrying out an environmental assessment and management plan, installing adequate water supply and environmentally suitable sewage system and providing for a laboratory and storage spaces. GPA oversaw all of the contractors and subcontractors with TFD staff adding further dimensions to their development.

GPA continues to provide services to the TFD under TFSP2 with on-going provision of an adviser who has been working to establish new surveillance technology, develop market initiatives, promote the growth of the tuna longline fishery, develop environmental mitigation for transshipment in Funafuti lagoon, expand the programme of crew training at TMTI, boat building and support for coastal fisheries management, training for staff and other initiatives such as a hatchery.

Taken together and using the multiple sources of funding GPA was integral to a complete transformation of the face and business of the TFD. In the past 11 years, the Tuvalu Fisheries Department has become streamlined, with clear career tracks for all staff and positions adjusted and defined to meet the real needs of the country. Relationships with international treaties (such as WCPFC) and organisations (such as SPC, FFA) have been enhanced and Tuvalu has become a strong voice in international fishery management arrangements. There are now better connections between TFD and other departments and projects and better use of donor funds within the projects TFD is directly implementing.

Early on in these projects GPA was instrumental in establishing a system of 5 year corporate plans, and annual plans and budgets to guide activities. The new building provides a professional work space enhancing communication between staff (who were in multiple separate buildings a decade ago) and providing data systems, proper storage for equipment and a laboratory. Relationships with the island councils and communities have been enhanced with better approaches to developing coastal fishery management arrangements and the development of a better communications through radio, posters, pamphlets, reports and a website. There is now a process for monitoring and managing coastal fisheries using creel, beche-de-mer and ciguatera surveys and the yearly monitoring and management consultations. The TFD in 2023 is an entirely different fisheries department than it was in 2012 and has a significant international footprint for both oceanic and coastal fisheries in the Pacific.

Educational materials produced

Waterproof fish size sticker to be attached to fishing boats. This shows the size at maturity for commonly-caught species. Fishers must ensure the fish they are catching are larger than the size shown.


Ciguatera in Funafuti - poster showing how ciguatera happens and where outbreak-producing areas are locatedFRFSP Poster showing the management rulesFront cover FRFSP booklet
Summary informationFRFSP bannerHealthy foods