Adding value and maintaining cooperation that has led to great benefits from commercial tuna fishing for the Parties to the Nauru Agreement was the theme of Monday’s opening session.
The five-day PNA annual officials meeting kicked off Monday at Marshall Islands Resort with Kiribati’s Principal Fisheries Officer Aketa Taanga handing over chairmanship of the PNA body to Glen Joseph, Director of the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority.
Both Taanga and Joseph emphasized cooperation to increase the benefits coming to the eight PNA members and Tokelau, all of which cooperate to implement a Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) for purse seine vessels and have launched a similar system for longline vessels.
“Our strength is through cooperation among all members,” said Joseph at the opening. “Individually and collectively (all parties) have benefited from the VDS.” Revenue from the purse seine skipjack fishery going to the islands has skyrocketed in the past six years, increasing from about $60 million in 2010 to close to $400 million last year.
Joseph also recognized the strong relations PNA has with industry that has produced a successful partnership, “despite challenges along the way.”
Taanga said 2016 was a successful year for PNA with implementation of the VDS, the signing of the fishing treaty with the United States, increasing industry interest in the PNA-Marine Stewardship Council sustainably caught tuna program and other developments.
“These were made possible because we the parties face challenges together,” Taanga said. “Even with our differences (working together) is what moves us forward.”
She said the ongoing challenge for PNA “is to add value to the success of the VDS. There are other ways to provide us with more benefits.” She urged PNA to concentrate on these going forward.
“Adding value to our success is exactly where I intend to take us as the new chair for PNA,” said Joseph, commenting on Taanga’s remarks.
Read more about this in the April 14, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.