The Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority put on a special program last Friday at the Marshall Islands Resort’s Melele Room to launch a new book — the first ever to document the Marshall Islands commercial fishing story.
President David Kabua headlined the event, offering praise for MIMRA and the book, “Our Ocean’s Promise — From Aspirations to Inspirations: The Marshall Islands Fishing Story,” by Giff Johnson.
“I am privileged to have received a copy and I have to admit that I was captivated from the first page,” the President said of the new book. “It is our story and it is very much worth telling and I recommend reading it.”
Speaking about his father, first President Amata Kabua and his involvement in efforts to establish commercial fishing activities in the RMI, President Kabua observed: “The legacy he left behind is truly coming together, as witnessed and documented in the book — indeed, the vision for self-determination, economic development, regional and international recognition, is taking shape. On page 116 of the book, it describes the late President and his government efforts to pursue Majuro as a hub for transshipment activities. In other words, they were visionaries of their time, for what is taking shape today.”
The launch event was attended by about 80 people, including Iroojlaplap and Nitijela Member Mike Kabua, Cabinet ministers, ambassadors, fisheries officials and other local residents. MIMRA Director Glen Joseph emceed the event, and thanked the people involved, in particular the Solomon Islands-based Forum Fisheries Agency for its support of the work. Johnson spoke briefly, highlighting the key milestones for RMI. He said this included the 1997 Nitijela approval of the MIMRA Act that set into motion establishment of a fisheries authority capable of overseeing the commercial tuna fishery and the 2008 implementation of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement Vessel Day Scheme that moved control of the purse seine fishery from distant water fishing nations to the PNA island members, including RMI.
The MIMRA team produced an interesting video promoting the book that featured drone views of the commercial fishery in Majuro and historical video clips of first President Kabua, as well as video comments from numerous fisheries officials in the region which noted the groundbreaking nature of the new publication.
A buffet of food was on hand as well as a cake prepared by K&K Island Pride Supermarket based on the cover design of the book. The event concluded with MIMRA providing a copy of the new book to attendees, and Johnson signed dozens of the books for those at the event.
The event was live-streamed by NTA. The book is now available from Amazon.com in hard copy and will also soon be available in Kindle format.
In a brief review of “Our Ocean’s Promise,” veteran Pacific journalist Floyd Takeuchi said for anyone who follows Pacific public policy, the book is “required reading.”
He described it as “one of the most important books about any of the Freely Associated States published in many years.”
In a review on the Amazon.com page where the book is available for sale, Takeuchi commented: “It’s a carefully documented tale of initial big dreams of fisheries as the proverbial pot of gold, followed by years of disappointment and failure. But unlike the retelling of this tale in many other regional nations, in the RMI, the national and fisheries leadership put ego aside and learned from their mistakes. And now, as ‘Our Ocean’s Promise’ so clearly details, the Marshall Islands are a regional leader in the management of its most critical and valuable natural resource.”