World Tuna Day 2018: Pacific Partners Celebrate

Pacific islands Forum Fisheries Agency Director General James Movick has congratulated the Agency’s members and its partner organisations in the region on the occasion of World Tuna Day on 2 May. 
“Tuna remains perhaps the most valuable natural resource in our region, and by working together we are committed to its sustainable development to the benefit of all Pacific Island Peoples” said Mr Movick who is enroute to the Cook Islands for the FFA’s annual meetings.  
“In terms of direct license fees and via its contribution to GDP, the tuna industry is delivering around one billion US dollars in benefits that can help underpin lasting economic and social development.” 
This week, the 17 members of the FFA kick-off their annual officials’ meeting in Cook Islands – often thought of as one of the smallest of the Pacific Island Countries. But while the total land area of Cooks is just 240 square kilometres, its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) covers a vast 1,800,000 square kilometres (690,000 sq. mi) of the Pacific Ocean. 
“This is what is meant by a ‘Large Ocean Country” - and in that ocean the Cook islands, like all FFA members, are harvesting the benefits of working together to ensure a sustainable tuna fishery,” said Mr. Movick.
In total it is reported that the Cooks will earn over USD13 million in revenues from its tuna fisheries this year – that’s well over USD $1,200 for every resident of the Islands – but safe in the knowledge that the fisheries are well governed and can continue to provide sustainable benefits for future generations. 
“One of the real features of the way we manage tuna in the region is that we not only work together as countries, but also as regional institutions - including the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) and the Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Environment Division of the Pacific Community (FAME-SPC). These all play key roles in ensuring that tuna remains sustainably harvested, and that the island countries receive a fair economic return for their resources.” 
Tuna is now so important that in 2017 Pacific Forum Leaders endorsed fisheries as a standing agenda item and a key regional priority, following in the footsteps of their endorsement of the Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, n 2015. 
“Everything we are doing” said Mr Movick “whether in terms of assessing and managing the tuna stocks, setting the minimum terms and conditions for fleet operators, taking measures to eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, or fostering value-adding processing within our regional membership – it is all intended to ensure that our tuna fishery is sustainable.” 
Mr Movick observed this work reflected the Leaders vision of a “Blue Pacific” that includes promoting security and prosperity through sustainable management, development and conservation of the region’s fisheries resources.  
The FFA Secretariat will also be participating in World Tuna Day celebrations at the SolTuna cannery in Noro, in the Western Province of Solomon Islands.--ENDS