FFA World Tuna Day statement

FFA Statement
World Tuna Day May 2, 2015

FFA HQ, Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS.– First celebrated across the globe on May 2 2012, World Tuna Day helps strengthen the voice of Pacific nations striving to ensure their successes and challenges are part of the global tuna conversation.

 As the resource owners of the regions multi-billion-dollar fishery, it is clearly important that Pacific knowledge, progress and experiences must lead the global tuna conversations, and we fully support PNA’s initiative for a World Tuna Day to keep the global focus on the region where a third of the world's tuna is fished.

Our story has always been strength through cooperation, and I want to thank and congratulate our country members at all levels, as they continue to enjoy the benefits their work is reaping across tuna fisheries in the region. I give full credit to those who have used regional strength to achieve success at national level and we will continue to offer that technical in country support.

 Tuna fishing continues to make a rising contribution to GDP across the FFA members, with exports alone putting USD 300m into the region in 2013. In the same period, access fee (licensing) revenues to FFA members was worth USD323 million. And tuna is keeping the Pacific working, with jobs in the fisheries sector rising from 10,500 in 2010 to 18,000 in 2013.

 In the ten years to 2013, more of the tuna caught in the WCPFC fishery covering Pacific nations came from domestic fleets. Added to that, while just under 20% of the tuna catch in the Pacific EEZs is caught by domestic fleets, that is still a rising trend, on top of another area of increase-- the amount of the catch being processed on shore, where the majority of the jobs are filled by women.

 A range of factors lead to these upward trends, amongst them an ability to implement at national level the results of regional agreements and actions for fisheries licensing, compliance, and monitoring policies, and management measures

 Our challenge in the region is to continue this growth, including extending it to a broader range of the membership and to all fisheries.  The success of the PNA members in leveraging huge returns from the purse seine fishery is our collective inspiration for also reforming and benefiting more from long lining for example. 

 And of course, fisheries are not all rosy.  The Pacific faces numerous and substantial challenges including the overfished status of bigeye tuna, marginal economic status of albacore and concerted attacks on our sovereign rights from distant water fishing nations. 

 When it comes to deciding the future of what happens in our EEZs, it's imperative that the fisheries management solutions our Pacific member nations offer to the world, and the challenges we are experiencing, are not lost at the WCPFC table, or in the post-2015 agenda for the oceans.

 In the next 12 months to World Tuna Day 2016, we hope to see continued growth in tuna exports and values. Market access work, Monitoring, surveillance and information management, and taking control of challenges in the albacore fishery, will likely be part of that FFA postcard.

 This year May 2 falls on a weekend, providing an opportune reminder of the strong family and cultural context in which many Pacific people enjoy Tuna. 

However one intends to serve it up today, I’ll repeat the three main reasons I gave last year for taking time out to celebrate tuna: it’s healthy, it tastes good,and it’s ours.