University of South Pacific – Institute of Marine Resources Projects

WiFN-Fiji Executive Board member, Cherie Morris works as a Research Fellow at the University of the South Pacific.

Her unit, the University of South Pacific, Institute of Marine Resources (IMR) is currently running interesting marine projects which are described below.

About the Institute of Marine Resources (IMR)

The IMR is dedicated to the sustainable management and development of the marine and coastal resources of the Pacific. IMR delivers research and consultancy studies, technical analysis, development work, professional training and education in the marine and coastal sector.

IMR will be seeking to strengthen the partnership with the Council of the Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) and other development agencies in order to enhance the coastal and marine sector. In addition, IMR will also work in partnership with industry, other research and education organisations and NGO’s involved in the management and development of the marine sector.

Under the “Small Islands, Big Ocean” theme of the USP Strategic Plan (2013 – 2018), IMR will collaborate with marine focused staff, students and programs to substantially contribute to the sustainable development of coastal and marine resources across the Pacific.

The current projects of the IMR are listed below:


Title: Pacific Fisheries Training Programme: Seafood Export Market Development Training Course

Funding Agency: NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT)

Research Partner(s): Pacific islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

Summary: The programme aims to increase sustainable economic development through a greater contribution from the seafood sector. As part of this project, training in seafood market development has been conducted in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and will be conducted in Vanuatu in 2017 by experienced trainers. The curriculum will cover commercial market development, primarily about establishing export markets, as well as food safety, standards, leadership and legal responsibilities.

Highlights / achievements: improved regional capacity in seafood processing.

Capacity Needs: course design and delivery, technical expertise in seafood marketing.

Contact person: Cherie Morris Institute of Marine Resources, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.


Title: Assessment of Sustainable Financing Options for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Fiji

Funding Agency: USP, Strategic Plan Fund

Research Partner(s): IUCN – Oceania, University of Newcastle (UK)

Summary: A sustainable financing model needs to be developed to support the MPA network in Fiji. MACBIO has carried out a Total Ecosystem Valuation as well as an assessment of costs of MPA, however, this work builds on that by focusing on benefits received from MPAs. The work identifies multiple and innovative financing options based of the differing governance modalities of fishing communities.

Highlights / achievements: outline multi-node governance model for sustainable financing to enhance regional dialogue on MPA’s across CROP and other development agencies.

Capacity Needs: fieldwork and interview skills

Contact person: Dr Jeremy Hills Institute of Marine Resources, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.


Title: Strengthening the Fisheries Impact Assessment instrument in Fiji

Funding Agency: Fiji Government Ministry of Land and Mineral Resources

Research Partners: N/A

Summary: Traditional fisheries rights in Fiji are bestowed on traditional communities living in near-shore situations.  Developers who wish to develop the marine area are required to agree a compensation payment for lost fisheries rights determined through an FIA (Fisheries Impact Assessment). This project aims to develop a methodology and national guidance for delivery of FIA which provide a just and fair instrument for both developers and traditional communities.

Highlights / achievements: strengthened process for ensuring coastal developments are sustainable and appropriately compensate legally-recognised traditional fisheries rights.

Capacity needs: none

Contact person: Cherie Morris  Institute of Marine Resources, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.


            img_8322                                   img_8346


 Title: Diversification of Seaweed Industries in Pacific Island Countries

Funding Agency: Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).

Research Partner(s): James Cook University; Pacific Seaweeds; Fiji Fisheries Department; SPC

Summary: The project is to provide the technological basis for diversification and revitalization of seaweed industries in Pacific Island Countries.  IMR will specifically be involved in enhancing production and post-harvest strategies for seagrapes (Caulerpa sp.) in Fiji for domestic and export market.

Highlights / achievements: identify and develop business opportunities in the seaweed sector.

Capacity needs: improved skills on business and entrepreneurship

Contact person: Cherie Morris  Institute of Marine Resources, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.


Title: Rapid Identification of Tuna Trunks

Funding Agency: New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries.

Research Partner(s): University of Sunshine Coast (USC)

Summary:  The project is designed to use new generation sequencing technologies combined with proteomics and monoclonal antibody designed against regions unique to each tuna species to develop a dipstick that would differentiate the different tuna species on site in Pacific Island countries.

Highlights / achievements: the project aimed to produce a rapid test for determining tuna species from frozen trunks for stock assessment, however, the genetic test was confounded.

Capacity needs: improved genetic laboratory facilities and technical experts (much of the genetics was outsourced to USC)

Contact person: Dr Jeremy Hills Institute of Marine Resources, University of the South Pacific, Fiji.