Statement by FFA Director- General Su'a N.F. Tanielu to mark World Tuna Day, May 2

On the occasion of the inaugural May 2 World Tuna Day, the FFA secretariat headquarters joins the Pacific and global support to this important date, and congratulates the Pacific governments who announced in July 2011 that the world needed a global day to celebrate Tuna. This is indicative of the innovative approach of Pacific leaders in a resourceful, collaborative approach to raising awareness on the global stage of the urgent measures aimed at ensuring the Ocean food stores of Tuna are not under threat of extinction. Despite the challenges that they face as small administrations with some of the lowest government budgets in the world, FFA members have built a reputation for driving regional fisheries management, both through the WCPFC and through measures that they develop and agree in their own right. FFA members work together in regional and global fisheries meetings to maintain and protect their rights under international law, and their development opportunities related to the fishery and associated industries. In order to achieve this feat FFA members have continuously developed and evolved their national legislation and policy frameworks to position themselves to implement some of the most robust contemporary fisheries management approaches in the world. At the same time, the challenges of converting their hard won development opportunities into tangible investments and outcomes are significant, and while there is a long way to go, FFA members have successfully achieved a diverse range of positive outcomes. Those outcomes now see an ever growing number of vessels operating in their domestic fleets and an associated reduction in the reliance on foreign vessels. The number of Pacific islanders working as crew or scientific observers on fishing boats is also at its highest ever levels and growing. There is also a burgeoning investment in onshore processing throughout the region, and successful trade negotiations to ensure market for the product. The success of the Pacific Islands does not stop there. Regional partners such as Australia, New Zealand (who are also members of the FFA), France and the US have added valuable support to the efforts of FFA members to develop the most comprehensive Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) network in the world. The joint MCS package includes a centralised Vessel Monitoring System that tracks each vessel via satellite and produces vessel compliance indices based on the risk that a vessel is fishing illegally. A cutting-edge data collection program and more than 500 at-sea observers who undertake science and compliance activities complement this. In the spirit of Pacific cooperation, FFA members share data, intelligence and information amongst themselves and via the Secretariat. This helps them achieve better coverage of the huge spans of ocean between them. While these MCS activities are undertaken all year round, perhaps the most visible display of FFA members’ cooperation is the regional surveillance operations, often involving patrol vessels and aircraft from up to 10 members and other regional surveillance partners. To assist them to achieve these types of outcomes the regions leaders established FFA as a technical secretariat to provide expert advice and assistance to the members. The Secretariat, established some 33 years ago, has grown in size and operation and now runs programmes that assist members with the three technical areas of work being fisheries management, fisheries development and MCS activities. It plays an important role in providing this assistance direct to the members both individually and collectively. This is a challenging undertaking and like all work of this nature, delivers its own rewards for the secretariat and my staff. As we celebrate a World day for Tuna, it is important to recognise the milestones marking a journey of more than three decades of progress toward sustainable and well-managed oceans in our Pacific world. -- Further information contact Tevita Tupou, FFA Executive Officer on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..