WCPFC join the homecoming celebration of FSS Bethwel Henry
WCPFC was privileged to join its host nation of FSM in welcoming home the FSS Bethwell Henry, a new patrol vessel donated to FSM by the Australian government.
Attendees acknowledged the significance of this vessel as an important component of FSM's ongoing commitment to protecting its waters and sustaining its people and economy. The FSS Bethwel Henry supports activities to combat illegal fishing to ensure fisheries resources can be sustainably managed. These resources are not only important to the nation's economy but are also integral to the lives and livelihoods of its people.
The vessel bears the distinguished name of the late Honorable Bethwel Henry, the inaugural Speaker of the FSM Congress, renowned for his remarkable contributions including shaping the first Congress when the FSM gained independence. Members of the Henry family, along with close friends and Congress colleagues all emphasized the vessel's significance and the appropriateness of its name.
The FSS Bethwel Henry will play a pivotal role in conducting sea patrols throughout the FSM exclusive economic zone, supporting various national government agencies such as the National Oceanic Resources Management Authority, the Police, Customs, and Immigration. Its mission is to ensure that all maritime activities, including fishing, adhere to FSM's domestic regulations and international laws. The vessel will also provide humanitarian assistance when required.
WCPFC Secretariat attendees Rhea Moss-Christian (Executive Director), Eidre Sharp (Assistant Compliance Manager), and Tim Jones (IT Manager) recognized the importance of FSM’s new patrol vessel in supporting FSM’s participation in WCPFC through effective implementation of WCPFC's conservation and management objectives.
The vessel homecoming was marked by a flotilla leading the vessel to the wharf and with performances from Mwokilese War Dancers and the Enpein Cultural Dancers, and songs from the Kepinle Church choir that gave tribute to FSM and particularly to the birthplace and home of the late Honorable Bethwel Henry.
This is the fifth such vessel donated by the Australian government since 1990 and is the second Guardian Class vessel they have donated. The first, the FSS Tosiwo Nakayama was named after the first President of FSM.
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The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is one of five global tuna regional fisheries management organizations, responsible for the conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish stocks, particularly tuna, in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Established in 2004, the WCPFC comprises 34 member countries and territories, and seven cooperating-non-members dedicated to promoting the sustainable management of the world’s largest tuna fishery. The WCPFC Secretariat is headquartered in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.