Tuna Day shows PNA impact

World Tuna Day was celebrated in New York earlier this week.
World Tuna Day was celebrated in New York earlier this week.

World Tuna Day was celebrated in New York City earlier this week, with dozens of Pacific island leaders, industry and others gathered for the event. This is the sixth year of tuna day that was launched by Parties to the Nauru Agreement in 2011.

“This was our first time to celebrate World Tuna Day in New York and by all standards, it was a major success,” said Kiribati Ambassador Makurita Baaro, who also chairs the PNA.

PNA involvement in the western Pacific fishery has added huge value for Pacific islanders. In 2008, about 12,000 people in the region were involved in processing, crewing, administration and fisheries observers. By 2014, the number was up to over 22,000, said Maurice Brownjohn, PNA’s commercial manager. In addition, the value of the fishery has jumped from around $3 billion to over $6 billion since 2010, he said.

“Vertical integration into processing, trading and branding — Marine Stewardship Council/Pacifical label — put a PNA brand into the market, put PNA on the map, increased investment in PNA and started taking a margin from the retail end of the tuna supply chain,” said Brownjohn of PNA business efforts. Solomon Islands Ambassador to the UN Collin Beck also spoke.

Last week, winners of the PNA World Tuna Day Art and Talent Quest were announced: Jasmine Mendiola from Federated States of Micronesia won first prize and $3,000 for her poem entitled “Teach Your Children,” which tells of each generation learning about the need to conserve tuna. Runner-up prizes ($500 each) went to Tiarite Kwong of Kiribati for the artwork “Pacific ways of fishing” and Schneider Yasi of Papua New Guinea for the literary poem “Marrow in Your Bones.”

Read more about this in the May 6, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.