ALOTAU, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, 2 MAY 2012: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) celebrated World Tuna Day and the 30th Anniversary of the PNA with cultural celebrations and speeches by Ministers in picturesque Alotau, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea today.
PNA Ministers in 2011 declared May 2 to be World Tuna Day an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of tuna and the relationship between people and tuna through fishing, conservation and other endeavours such as science and art.
Today Ministers and officials at the 30th PNA Annual Meeting were treated to a performance of a traditional fish hunting dance and songs, and singing by local school children. PNA Ministers also used the opportunity of this day to release a resolution on its approach to managing non-target species which may be affected by tuna fishing. The resolution celebrates PNA’s role in leading conservation on key species such as the endangered whale shark and marine mammals and is available below.
COMMENTS FROM MINISTERS AT THE CELEBRATIONS IN ALOTAU, PNG, INCLUDE:
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Hon. Lorin Robert MP, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources said: “One might ask why we would declare this day World Tuna Day and in my simple and humble opinion, it is a day for all of us to reflect on our cultural heritage and affinity with our oceans that has sustained us, enriched us and has made us strong Pacific Island democracies in our part of the world. We should reinforce our commitment to protecting and preserving them for future generations to come. It is said in the FSM constitution that “the seas bring us together, they do not separate us”. In this spirit, we must work together as custodians of these resources and commit ourselves to ensuring our oceans and the resources within are healthy and productive so that our way of life is maintained and secured well into the future.”
Iannang Teaioro Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries, said: “As Parties to the Nauru Agreement, we are here today to celebrate the PNA 30th Anniversary since its inception in 1982. The eight parties to the Nauru Agreement are custodians of the large volume of tuna resource in the Pacific Ocean and recognised as active leaders in tuna conservation and management.”
“To demonstrate the importance of tuna resource to the PNA, our Ministers launched the global initiative last July in Tuvalu to turn the spotlight on the popular tuna seafood and to recognize its value that is declared today as the World Tuna Day. For consumers who enjoy tuna’s great taste and high nutritional value, and for retailers who benefit from its trade, World Tuna Day will be a reminder to both that sustainable fishing practices is necessary for a healthy future.”
Hon. Michael Konelius MP, Minister said: “My underlying message is to continue to hold fort, and move forward in a productive and conducive manner for all PNA and the wider Pacific. We are key testaments that together through strength, we can impose changes in the Pacific fishery for our individual and collective gains.”
Hon Ryke Solomon MP, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources said: “We have all come a long way from the days where we could only watch as fishing vessels pass by our islands while enjoying the bounty of our tuna resources at no cost. All Parties should be proud of what we have achieved over the last 3 decades. We still have a long way to go and our future generations must benefit from the decisions we make from today and into the future. As the custodians of our children’s resources, we must continue to manage the resources in the most sustainable way possible to ensure that our children and their children’s children will look back and say thank you to the people of PNA for ensuring that the tuna remains abundant for all to enjoy.”
Hon. Harry Fritz MP, Minister for Natural Resources said: “We have succeeded in having the highest standard of certification than any body in the world of fisheries. We have set measures in conservation and sustainable management of our resources; we have established mechanism to develop local industries as well as promote foreign investment in our waters which is not common among fisheries in other parts of the world. We have come a long way from a mere concept to a realization and now we reap the fruits of our predecessors’ labor who planted the seeds of the PNA.
We are also tasked with planting seeds for our future generations to reap the benefits we envisage from our policies concerning the future of the PNA.”
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Hon Job Pomat MP, Minister for Fisheries said: “We as Parties have come a long way in a short while in developing and implementing our own conservation and management measures in our respective EEZs both with and without direct involvement of the WCPFC Commission and other organizations in the region. As outgoing Ministerial Chairman, I on behalf of the Government and the 7 million people of Papua New Guinea would like to thank you all Parties for giving PNG the opportunity and needed support during our tenure as the Chair and appeal to all Parties to stand together so PNA has to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Hon Alfred Ghiro MP, Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources said: “Our countries are blessed with abundant tuna in our EEZs. Tuna fisheries are a valuable source of food for many. They are also an important part of the marine ecosystem and an important part of our culture. Tuna fisheries also have the potential to support many jobs and significant income for our countries. It is appropriate to celebrate tuna!”
“Last week I had the privilege of visiting Noro to see the NFD purse seine vessel base and the Soltai tuna processing plant. These companies are good examples of the sort of value Solomon Islands can obtain from tuna fisheries – in addition to Vessel Day fees. Unemployment is a major issue for the Solomon Islands and I was delighted to see the positive effects of high levels of employment in Noro. When households have a reasonable income it has positive outcomes in many areas – including health and education.”
Hon. Willy Telavi MP, Prime Minister and Minister for Natural Resources said: In Tuvalu a fisherman who catches more than 100 tuna in a single day fishing trip is bestowed the title of Tautai (master-fisherman), a very respected figure in the community with high prestige. Today I am very proud to say that the launching of the First World Tuna Day eventually puts our collective aspirations into real perspectives. It is a day that will continue to remind us as “tautai” or “master” of our small and fragile economies to begin to realise and appreciate the potential and power that are with us as a group to regulate this precious fishery, and at the same time remind us that we are the custodians and rightful owners of this resources and no one can take that right away from us.”
PNA MINISTERS 7TH ANNUAL MEETING
1-2 May 2012
Alotau, Papua New Guinea
Resolution on Marine Animals
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Ministers today reiterated their intent to manage the impact of tuna fishing on the broader oceanic environment, including other marine species.
PNA manages the effects of fishing on other species through ecosystem-based management, which is certified as sustainable by thescience-based assessment of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). PNA Ministers are proud of being the world’s first purse seine tuna fishery to be awarded MSC certification. It is, in part, recognition of years of PNA's effort to take control and manage their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) for the benefit of the PNA peoples and for future generations of Pacific Islanders.
Of all the different standards and certification schemes, PNA sought MSC certification because MSC certification of its free school skipjack fishery requires independent monitoring to the highest standard and a chain of custody that is well beyond any other tuna landed globally. As such, certified skipjack tuna will be sold by the PNA owned trading company PACIFICAL and will not be subject to other certification programmes of a lower standard.
PNA is recognized as being the first fisheries group in the world to ban setting on whale sharks and has pushed for whale shark and marine mammal conservation at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and will take appropriate action if required to advance these commitments.
PNA continues to be transparent about interactions between purse seine fishing gear and non-target species through the use of 100% observer coverage and data analysis as implemented throughout the PNA area.
In this endeavour and throughout our continued work to sustainably manage the tuna fishery, PNA Ministers invite civil society and industry to work with PNA to further develop and adopt innovative conservation and management measures.
Our culture, lifestyles and livelihoods are dependent on our tuna and other marine species. PNA Ministers highlight the importance of creating economic and social benefits from our role as world leaders in sustainable tuna management.
May 2, 2012
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