Greenpeace calls on Pacific governments to ensure tuna development brings benefits to coastal communities

Honiara, September 18, 2013 – At the 4th Pacific Tuna Forum in the Solomon Islands, Greenpeace is alarmed that despite the increased drive for domestic investment and value adding in the region’s tuna sector, Pacific Island nations face the risk of losing out on real sustainability and development for their people.

“The Forum is packed with delegates from distant water fishing nations who continue to profit from and deplete Pacific tuna stocks. Their business models are based upon paying as little as possible for the right to fish, and taking as much of the profit as they can out of the region,” said Duncan Williams, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans Campaigner.

Yesterday Greenpeace organised a successful workshop attended by over 40 participants from government, the private sector, investors and other stakeholders to discuss alternative smaller scale fisheries development in the region and the next steps needed to drive this forward.

The workshop was designed to drive implementation of Greenpeace’s recently released report, Transforming Tuna Fisheries in Pacific Island Countries: An Alternative Model of Development.’ The report makes detailed recommendations for how to develop smaller-scale and locally owned fisheries that maximise economic returns, create local jobs and better protect countries’ precious tuna reserves for the long term.

“Pacific Island countries need to adopt a new model of fishery development and start saying ‘no’ to those who use the most destructive methods and have a track record of pirate fishing,” Mr Williams said.

“Export markets are crying out for more sustainable tuna. Governments should be supporting local businesses and communities to develop fisheries along a sustainable, locally-owned model.”

The workshop identified that support from Pacific governments is key to revitalise more local sustainable industries such as pole and line fishing. This can be achieved by reserving the most productive fishing areas for pole and line, creating a favourable investment and taxation environment and by promoting sound resource management. Countries like the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea have pole and line fisheries ready to start and expand, given the right support.

“This transformation is not a matter of building a cannery for every island. It is about working together regionally to pool resources and establish a new model for Pacific fisheries, where the fishing, processing and profits are kept local and management returns to Pacific hands,” Mr Williams said.

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