Pacific leaders ready to up the ante on sustainable fishing
The director general of the Forum Fisheries Agency says Pacific leaders are ready to up the ante to ensure Pacific Fisheries are sustainable.
The head of the Forum Fisheries Agency says Pacific leaders are ready to up the ante to ensure Pacific Fisheries are sustainable.
The agency held a ministerial meeting in Tuvalu last week, with all 17 member nations endorsing a new Regional Roadmap for Sustainable Pacific Fisheries, which lists strategies to make Pacific fisheries the rising item on the regional agenda.
The director general of the agency, James Movick, says the Roadmap essentially replaces the Future of Fisheries report that was produced in 2010.
He told Bridget Tunnicliffe that if they stayed on the same track not a lot would change.
JAMES MOVICK: There've been a number of circumstantial changes in the last five years that weren't quite anticipated in the initial study but I think just generally the realisation that unless we are more conscious and proactive in our approach towards the best-case scenario, we're not going to achieve it so this yes, is a conscious attempt to up the ante.
BRIDGET TUNNICLIFFE: I note that ministers are concerned particularly about the ability of coastal fisheries to meet regional food security needs in the region as populations grow, how does the Roadmap address that?
JM: What it does anticipate is that a greater proportion of the fish food supply for local food security would come from the oceanic tuna sector. Traditionally this hasn't been the major source, it's been coastal fisheries resources, so this anticipates more effort to divert some of the oceanic supply towards meeting local food security needs. It would also include the necessity of putting into place various distribution and cold chains. Obviously you'd need to be able to store large amounts of tuna in cold stores and then have a distribution system to get them to the hinterland and other areas where they are required.
BT: The plan also is to create 18,000 new jobs in the tuna industry by 2025, where do you expect most of the increase to be driven by?
JM: That will be primarily in the processing sector and obviously we would be looking at investment in the larger islands. Papua New Guinea is already on track, once their seven canneries that are either in existence or on the drawing books are up in full operation, you'd probably be close to 15,000 or so jobs there already and then of course there's opportunities for expanded processing in some of the other island countries.
BT: Is part of the focus on eliminating over supply - is that about increasing value of tuna rather than volume?
JM: That's correct, clearly the objective of increasing the value of tuna fisheries to the island countries is about increasing the value per unit rather than increasing the quantity of fish caught. By adopting an objective to establish clear target reference points, in other words to limit the amount of catch in each of the fisheries, we're then anticipating that the increase in the value will come from developing other products that have a higher value, doing more of the processing within the region, developing new types of products that meet new needs in the market at higher value. Those are the ways in which we intend to increase the value of the fishery.
James Movick says fisheries ministers have tasked the Forum Fisheries Agency to set up a new regional 'Competent Authority' unit to work with national authorities to help ensure food safety standards are met.
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