Pacific Islander’s Drive to Open New Markets for His Nation’s Tuna

Donny Andrike, a competent authority officer from the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), is on a mission to bring his country’s prized tuna to the lucrative European Union (EU) market.

While the road has been long, he believes they will achieve their goal sooner rather than later, with applications and relevant documents already submitted to the European Union’s Directorate-Generale (DG) for Health and Safety (SANTE). RMI has been working hard in recent years to access the EU markets.

Donny’s work is supported by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency through the the EU-Sweden funded Pacific European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme. Over the years, FFA has provided training for fisheries officers including a recent course on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP), which has been vital for Donny and his team of three.

Small Team, Big Ambitions

“We oversee all aspects of food safety related to tuna offloading and transshipment,” explains Donny. “It’s a small team, but from last year to date, we handled 13 million metric tons of tuna.”

Their work involves long hours, visual inspections, and issuing certificates for exported fish.

Donny reveals a major challenge has been pushing the RMI fishing industry to comply with the RMI National Standards and the Overseas Market Access requirements including the EU.

Challenges and Opportunities

“The industry sees the value in accessing these markets,” Donny says. He’s quick to acknowledge hurdles along the way – particularly the language barrier with international fishing vessels. “Sometimes,” he admits with a chuckle, “we end up using sign language!”

However, Donny is heartened by the increased acceptance and cooperation from vessel crews, as their presence becomes a familiar part of the process.

Building a Sustainable Future

Donny’s journey hasn’t been easy. A former public health and port worker, he initially underestimated the demands of his role. “My biggest challenge was the lack of technical knowledge,” he confesses, “trainings like the ones from FFA and PEUMP have greatly helped my role- I have had training in fish inspection and sampling as well.”

Despite the hurdles, Donny’s optimism shines through.

“I’m part of something big,” he reflects, “something that brings more opportunities for my country.”

SUVA, 23 May 2024

Media Contact:
Ernest Ta'asi
FFA Communications Officer
e: ernest.ta’[email protected]
About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management. Find out more here:

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