Solomon's Fisheries training takes a close up look at Tuna industry

FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS.More than 30 Solomon Islands Fisheries officials and tuna industry managers spent last week in Noro, Western Province, getting into the details of the country’s tuna industry. They put theory into practice while looking at national and global standards for tuna Catch Certification compliance guidelines and protocols.
The two-day workshop, which supports quality standards and effectiveness in the Solomon Islands Tuna industry, ended Thursday  afternoon with closing statements from the European Union’s Honiara-based Officer in Charge, Eoghan Walsh. As part of their visit to the Western Province, the EU delegation were able to see firsthand some of the latest FFA collaborative support to the Solomon Islands Fisheries industry. Mr Walsh and adviser Lorena Elvisa Ayuso, Aid Cooperation Attaché, toured the Soltuna and NFD facilities and enjoyed a guided tour on-board one of the National Fisheries Developments purse seine vessels.
“We continue to welcome the partnership of the European Union in assisting FFA and SPC to build capacity where requested and in collaboration with our national members,” says FFA Director-General James Movick.
“The vision of DEVFISH II, of ensuring a fairer slice for Pacific peoples of the economic benefits from their fisheries, fits well with supporting the aspirations of our member nations and we commend the Solomon Islands fishery partners for continuing to maintain momentum towards best practice in meeting their commitments to excellence in on-shore processing, compliance, and documentation procedures.”  
In 2012 commercial fish exports from the Solomon Islands earned a total of US$44.7 million, of which US$ 29.5 million was from the export of canned tuna and cooked tuna loins and US$ 15 million from sashimi exports and round fish. The EU is a very important market to the Solomon Islands, with sales of cooked loins for the EU canning market worth US$ 15.9 million in 2012. Continued access for the Solomon Islands is important. An estimated 85% of Sol Tuna’s product heads to the European Community, which is the world’s second largest market in volume terms and the highest value market for canned tuna.  
The Noro training combined theory and practice with evaluation, focussing on regulations and standards for establishing systems to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.  
Regulations on documenting and certifying tuna catches, details of cooperation agreements related to imports and exports of fish products, and global standards for compliance with export processes formed part of the training. Participants from the fisheries sector in the Solomon Islands also discussed transit and transhipment, the role of ‘flag states’, domestic and foreign flagged vessels, and details and definitions helping them to track best practice and standard operating procedures.
Supported by FFA’s Trade Development Adviser, Ratu Jope Tamani, the workshop also looked into catch certification and documentation and how national ‘competent authority’ bodies meet stringent global export/import standards. Meanwhile the training venue at Noro allowed participants an up-close and practical look at the nation’s on-shore processing of tuna at the Sol Tuna cannery.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources jointly funded the training with the Australian Government funded PHARMA project and Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency DEVFISH II project. DEVFISH II works to ensure Pacific economies gain a ‘fairer slice’ of the benefits from the region’s fisheries resources. Funded by the European Union, it involves collaboration between FFA, the SPC Oceanic Fisheries Program, and key national stakeholders. The project has been actively supporting MFMR and the tuna industry in meeting EU market access requirements for the past two years. --ENDS