PNA Office launched in Majuro, Marshall Islands

MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS, 22 APRIL 2010: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Office was officially launched today in the presence of the RMI President and the PNA Ministers.

The PNA brings together eight Pacific Island countries to sustainably manage tuna and increase economic benefits for their peoples. PNA members are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. These countries own waters which supply 25% of the world’s tuna, an estimated $2 billion worth of fish every year.

The PNA have a tradition of innovative conservation and management measures such as the Vessel Day Scheme (a system whereby a set number of fishing days will be sold and traded to the highest bidding fishing companies), closure of high seas areas to fishing and control of Fish Aggregating Devices (or ‘FADs’, which are human-made devices to attract schools of fish that often result in high juvenile fish catches).

The new office, launched today, will provide staff and resources to implement PNA decisions – particularly to take forward the Vessel Day Scheme to both limit fishing and increase economic returns to Pacific Islanders. First Lady of the Marshall Islands, Hannah Jurelang Zedkaia, and Angela M. Zackhras, unveiled the carved wooden PNA sign outside the office to symbolize the launch.

H.E. Iroij Jurelang Zedkaia President, Republic of the Marshall Islands said: “The waters of the countries of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement are ground zero for the last remaining viable fishery grounds in the world.  Over the centuries, tuna fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean have been so over-exploited that self-sustaining fisheries is not even contemplated let alone attempted.  This is a lesson for the Pacific Region in general and the PNA countries in particular.”

“As we celebrate this momentous occasion today, let us not lose sight of the purpose which has drawn our countries together in the first place.  Our joint collaborations have gradually improved over the years to effectively conserve and maximize the benefits back to the PNA countries of our “Blue Gold” – tuna – through proper management and conservation.”

The President also asked delegates for a moment of silence honoring the contribution of pioneering PNA Leaders:  the late Hammer de Robert of Nauru, the late Solomon Mamaloni of the Solomon Islands, the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare of Papua New Guinea, the late Toaripi Lauti of Tuvalu, Tosiwo Nakayama of the Federated States of Micronesia, Iremeia Tabai of the Republic of Kiribati, the late Haruo Remelik of the Republic of Palau and RMI First President the late Iroijlaplap Amata Kabua. 

Dr Transform Aqorau, PNA Office Director said: “We thank all PNA members for their support and collaboration in establishing this new regional office. We hope the commitment and energy we feel today, launching this office, will be taken forward in our work here to implement PNA leaders’ decisions to sustainably manage tuna and increase economic benefits for Pacific Islanders.”

For interviews, or to be advised of further news from the PNA Ministerial meeting, contact: Anouk Ride: anouk.ride@ffa.int  Tel: +689 455 4944.