Today, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) will appoint one of the two high-caliber women contenders to replace the outgoing Executive Director Feleti Teo.
The appointment of either one of these women will be historic in that the three top regional fisheries organizations in the Pacific will be headed by Pacific women.
Applicants for the position of Executive Director come highly qualified, with extensive experience in fisheries management and with the full endorsement of their country; Rhea Moss-Christian of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Lara Manarangi-Trott from the Cook Islands.
Rhea Moss-Christian from RMI holds master’s and post-graduate degrees from Stanford University and Oxford University and was the first woman elected chair of the WCPFC in 2014 and was re-elected for the 2nd term.
Lara Manarangi-Trott, is currently the WCPFC’s Secretariat Compliance Manager. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in International Law from the University of Wollongong, a post-graduate diploma in Organisational Leadership from the University of Oxford, and has received international recognition for her expertise in fisheries management
“Over ten years ago, when we were starting the WCPFC, very few women were in the fisheries. I believe there was only one female head of a delegation from New Zealand. Now we have several women here, which is encouraging,” said Dr. Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), a lady from the Kingdom of Tonga.
Asked why there were so many women now in the fisheries field, Dr. Tupou-Roosen said that there are more opportunities available to women in fisheries now and that women care about this important industry.
Dr. Sangaalofa Tooki Clark heads the third regional fisheries body, the Parties to Nauru Agreement Organization. Hailing from Kiribati, Dr. Sangaalofa Clark serves as the Chief Executive Director of the PNA, a group of small island countries in the Pacific that “controls the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery.”
“It is exciting and I am very happy to see that,” expressed Dr. Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, head of FFA, one of the three premier regional fisheries organizations in the Pacific.