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Call To Take Tough Decisions Needed To Save Tuna Industry

Call To Take Tough Decisions Needed To Save Tuna Industry
From left: Professor Glenn Hurry, INFOFISH director, Abdul Basir Kunhimohamed, Papua New Guinea Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Mao Zeming, Fijian Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Osea Naiqamu, Food and Agriculture Organisation’s, Jacqueline Alder, and National Fisheries Authority managing director, John Kasu, during the opening of the 5th Pacific Tuna Forum at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island in Nadi yesterday. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
September 23
11:06 2015

Tough decisions need to be taken by the region in order to save our much-challenged tuna industry.

This was the message stressed by the Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Osea Naiqamu, as he opened the two-day 5th Pacific Tuna Forum.

The regional tuna and trade conference will conclude today at the Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa on Denarau Island.

Mr Naiqamu said looking at the current challenges faced by the regional tuna fishing industry, maybe it is time for a restructure of the whole industry.

“I am aware of the current challenges facing the tuna fishing industry, many of whom are experiencing lower catch rates, paying higher access fees and selling their catches at depressed world prices,” he said.

“Maybe we need to reduce the number of distant water fishing nations’ vessels that fish in our region as well as the overall number of fleets,” he said.

Mr Naiqamu referred to a recent World Bank study which estimated the catch value of tuna in our region at US$2.4 billion (FJ$5.2 billion).

“The questions that need to be asked are what portion of this value is realised within our region?” he said.

“Are we only going to sell access rights and fishing days or do we need to also support our people, our industries to also go into fishing?

“What about processing these catches within our region? How can the Pacific Island countries, as custodians of the resource, also participate in fishing, processing and trading of the tuna resources?”


Platform for solution

Mr Naiqamu acknowledged these were tough questions and issues but the forum provided the perfect platform to find solutions.

“We hear from our regional management organisations that big eye tuna is at overfished state and yellow fin tuna is now under threat,” he said.

“I hope that through the presentations and discussions over the two days, we will come up with appropriate strategies and directions that can lead towards addressing these concerns.

“The Pacific Tuna Forum provides a good venue for frank and open discussions as all of you have the right to make comments and inputs.”

Mr Naiqamu said it was important that all Pacific Island States and distant water fishing nations agree to the fundamental principles of adopting and implementing sustainable methods and practices.



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