Government today stressed on the importance of tuna in the region and urged stakeholders to work together to address the challenges faced by the tuna industry.
Opening the Pacific Tuna Forum today, Minister for Minister for Fisheries and Forests, Hon. Osea Naiqamu said that “it is important that all Pacific Island States, together with distant water fishing nations, agree to the fundamental principles of adopting and implementing sustainable fishing methods and practices.”
“Maybe is it time for a restructure of the whole industry and a need to reduce the number of distant water fishing vessels that fish in our region as well as the overall number of fleets,” Minister Naiqamu said.
Minister Naiqamu highlighted the current challenges facing the world tuna fishing industry, which include lower catch rates, paying higher fees and selling catches at depressed world prices.
The Papua New Guinea Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resource, Hon. Mao Zeming said the country continues to promote regional approach to sustainably manage fisheries resources and strengthen monitoring and surveillance programs in the region.
“We also want to fish and develop our fishing industries and establish viable fish processing industries to process tuna,” Minister Zeming said.
“It is therefore important that the Pacific Islands be given the opportunity to participate in the world economy through investments in fishing ventures and tuna processing facilities.”
The two-day forum will discuss ways to come up with appropriate strategies to address the overfishing of bigeye tuna and the threat faced by yellow fin tuna in the region.
The Regional Tuna Industry and Trade Conference is co-hosted by the Fijian Government and Papua New Guinea’s National Fisheries Authority.