Pacific tuna fisheries should benefit the Pacific more
28 May 2007
"For all of us here, our fisheries are a vital resource," Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said today at the opening of the 2007 annual meeting of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Forum Committee. For all the Pacific countries represented at the Forum, tuna has always been an important food source. "And our stocks are probably the only remaining healthy tuna stocks left on the planet."
The health of the Pacific tuna stocks didn't go unnoticed by others, he said. "We saw the arrival of industrialised distant fishing nations eager to fish for our abundant tuna resources. We can be grateful for the wisdom of our leaders twenty-six years ago when they had the vision to begin managing our fisheries issues in a partnership, by co-operating and working closely together."
The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency was established by Pacific Island leaders in 1979. Its purpose was to provide its members with policy advice and technical services for the management of tuna fisheries. Jim Anderton will Chair the Forum Fisheries Committee at its meeting in Wellington.
Pacific tuna fisheries are worth two billion US dollars each year. "Not much of that value is taken by vessels based in Pacific countries," Jim Anderton said. "I hope to see us enjoying a greater share of the economic resources that flow from this resource.
"And I also hope this conference will focus on the need for close monitoring and management to ensure our tuna do not become over-fished. After all, it is not possible to achieve lasting economic benefits from the resource unless it is sustained," he said.
"So we have a job to do to ensure it remains sustainable. That's why the work we will do this week is valuable. It is the work of fostering and nurturing the future. No one will thank us if we allow the riches we enjoy today to be squandered and consumed at the expense of our children and their grandchildren."
Read the Minister's speech in full