Thirteen participants from Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands successfully gained certification for small-scale tuna canning operations following a one-week training in Majuro.
This was the first regional tuna canning training for business and government representatives from member nations of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) that manages the multi-billion dollar tuna fishery in the western and central Pacific.
Sponsored jointly by the Majuro-based PNA Office and the Marshall Islands government's Office of Commerce and Investment, the training aimed to spur island entrepreneurs to develop new businesses and revenue streams from the existing commercial tuna fishery said PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru.
An important goal of last week's canning training was to empower local entrepreneurs to "change the mindset of dependency so they are not scared of starting a business."
He emphasized that it does not take a lot of money to start small-scale tuna canning in the islands.
Cooking and canning equipment can be purchased for less than US$2,000 and tuna for canning is available free or at low-cost because of PNA fishing rules that require purse seine fishing boats to retain all fish caught and to trans-ship in ports.
This has created large volumes of "by-catch" unwanted by the commercial tuna companies, but suitable for canning locally, Mr. Kumoru said.
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.