As the world celebrates the inaugural World Tuna Day (May 2), the work of keeping stocks of Pacific tuna at sustainable levels will continue the leadership of this region in global tuna conservation efforts, says the region’s key Fisheries agency, FFA.
Based in Honiara, Solomon Islands, FFA’s 17 Pacific Island members are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Lauding the achievements of the FFA membership Director-General Su’a Tanielu noted that progress over the last 20 years given the small budgets of island nation members has been “stunning”.
“That a group of the smallest and least developed countries in the world can get together and successfully negotiate opportunities to develop on the world stage, and then take the difficult step of making those opportunities happen is a credit to the hard working people of the Pacific” he says.
However, he says, this does not mean the job is done. He sees the Pacific-led introduction of the World Tuna Day, marked for the first time in 2012 this May 2 as a chance to celebrate successes while appraising remaining and emerging challenges. The FFA will continue working with our members to maintain the Pacific’s leadership of managing Tuna resources for the future.”
“The aspect of food security also underlines the potential of economic security. As such, the importance of fisheries to these small developing States means that failure is simply not an option,” says Su’a. In a formal statement issued to mark World Tuna Day May 3 he detailed some of the key successes achieved by Pacific Forum Fisheries members in the agency’s 33 year history towards the current focus on sustainable ocean resource management that sees more of the economic benefits remaining in the islands.
“” Overall, FFA members’ achievements speak for themselves. There is undoubtedly more to be done and having World Tuna Day provides a great Pacific lead in helping to shape the global conversations on Tuna as an important part of the diet, the labour force and fisheries sector, and the economy.”
The inception of the World Tuna Day, and its inaugural celebrations this year, are an opportunity to raise awareness of the great work done so far by our Pacific governments as custodians of half the world’s tuna stocks. We commend the range of national, regional and global actions happening to add impetus and energy to the global conversation on Tuna, and recognise the Pacific leadership of that action. ”