Denarau, Fiji 8 December 2016: The United Nations General Assembly voted today to establish World Tuna Day as an internationally-recognized event.
The event initiated by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) in 2011 has now gained international ratification for the annual celebration of tuna on May 2.
The United Nations General Assembly voted without objection to ratify a resolution on World Tuna Day that had been endorsed by nearly 100 nations prior to today’s vote at UN headquarters in New York City. Ambassadors from PNA nations attended the vote.
“We are delighted with United Nations ratification of World Tuna Day,” said PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru, who is in Fiji attending the 13th annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). “It confirms the world’s appreciation of the value of tuna.”
Among Pacific islands, and particularly PNA members that control the world’s largest sustainable skipjack tuna fishery, tuna is a primary source of revenue for governments and a key part of food security for island populations, Mr. Kumoru said.
“The UN’s adoption of the World Tuna Day resolution underlines the importance of conservation management outcomes we are trying to achieve at this week’s WCPFC annual meeting,” said Mr. Kumoru. These objectives include developing harvest control strategies and management measures to ensure that “we have systems in place to prevent stocks from crashing. We cannot continue to be reactive as we watch tuna stocks declining and try to play catch up.”
Going forward, a key focus for the PNA is rolling out increased management of the longline fishery, with a focus on implementing a “vessel day scheme” (VDS) for longline fishing boats. “We have done this successfully with the purse seine fishery, which is now well-managed in PNA exclusive economic zones,” said Mr. Kumoru.
“Increasing management control over the longline industry and particularly on the high seas is of critical importance to sustaining tuna resources for the long-term,” he added.
“Thanks to the United Nation’s vote today, next year’s World Tuna Day celebration will be a global event that reminds us of the importance of tuna to our economies, livelihoods and food security,” said Mr. Kumoru.