Kramer: Tuna is RMI’s future

In recent months, barely a day has gone by without at least one purse seiner tied up at PII Dock for net repairs. The company’s net repair yard offers crews the equipment and space to fix their million dollar nets. Photo: Isaac Marty.
In recent months, barely a day has gone by without at least one purse seiner tied up at PII Dock for net repairs. The company’s net repair yard offers crews the equipment and space to fix their million dollar nets. Photo: Isaac Marty.


REBECCA LATHROP

Jerry Kramer sees fisheries as the future of the Marshall Islands and Pacific International Inc. (PII) as an integral contributor. His company, PII, which has recently created what many captains say is the best net yard in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, is seeing increased activity and positive return on the investment.
But that is the tip of the iceberg. Kramer wants Majuro to be a “one stop shopping and preferred service port” for tuna boats in the Pacific. Among Kramer’s plans is a fisheries dock project, with cold storage facilities and a dry-dock with the capacity to pull ships out of the water that will greatly expand services offered to fishing vessels that come to Majuro. Kramer noted with gratitude, technical and financial consideration from the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), assistance that will help accelerate and make the dock project a reality, as well as making sure it is done right.
The biggest news may be that PII plans to get into the transshipping business, and as a stepping-stone to that goal, aims to be the first Marshallese company with a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Chain of Custody (CoC) Certificate. Having the coveted MSC Certificate would reflect that PII is well managed and uses sustainable, critically regulated rules and practices to protect the quality of the fish with minimal environmental impact with respect to its fishery related work, practices that most markets demand when purchasing seafood.
Kramer sees his transshipping goals as a step towards processing fish on-island in Majuro. He sees millions of lost dollars going to other countries when foreign vessels fish in RMI waters and take the catch directly to other countries for processing. If those fish were landed on Majuro soil, Kramer sees potential of hundreds of jobs that would be created in the RMI, coupled with increased tax yields and revenues.
He looks to the government to have a positive, proactive attitude toward supporting the fisheries industry and fishery-related opportunities. He suggests the government should spend some time re-evaluating past practices and decisions; special rates and special privileges for some are costing the government millions of dollars. Kramer notes that while there are concerns about foreign fishing vessel crews, these people are part of the system that is bringing tens of millions of dollars into the RMI. These crews should be regarded, treated and assisted as friends by our community, he said.
Meanwhile, Kramer is quick to praise the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA). He wonders if the people in Majuro realize “the honor, benefits, and the opportunity of having the PNA office here in Majuro.” He expressed hope that the PNA headquarters would remain in Majuro for the long term and continue to introduce innovations to maximize the benefits for the eight countries it serves.

Read more about this in the October 13, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.