Small Pacific nations speak out at Tuna Commission

by Pita Ligaiula | 12 December 2018 | News

A Taiwanese purse seiner hauls its catch in the western Pacific. Photo: Greenpeace

HONOLULU, 12 DECEMBER 2018 (PACNEWS)— The tiny Pacific nation of Niue has called on members of the Tuna Commission (WCPFC) to ensure fisheries resources caught in the region are sustainable. 

Fisheries Minister Dalton Tagelagi, said members had a responsibility and duty to cooperate to ensure the tuna fisheries were managed sustainably.

“We owe it to the future generations that the legacy we leave behind for them should be one that that will be proud of,” Tagelagi said.

“I would like to reaffirm Niue’s commitment to effectively participate and contribute to the work of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. We believe that we can all share and successfully manage this vital fishery if we honestly negotiate in good faith and transparently our High Seas fisheries among us.

“We have already implemented conservative limits on our own fisheries and now look forward to cooperating with our regional partners to strengthen all management of the high seas and provide for future generations.”

Tagelagi told delegates that while Niue might be the smallest member of the WCPFC, they were well aware of their responsibilities to ensure that the Fisheries resources in the Western Central Pacific Fisheries region remained sustainable.

He said the agenda set for this week was comprehensive and members would have their own expectations and desired outcomes.

 “For Niue we look forward to decisions on at least three key issues. One is Target Reference Points for the South Pacific Albacore. The second is effective participation of Small Island developing States at this meeting and the third is a way forward concerning the process to establish high seas allocations for purse seine by the WCPFC16 in 2019 and the long line fishery in 2020,” Tegelagi  said.

Meanwhile, Northern Marianas Governor Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres called on the WCPFC for financial assistance to develop their fisheries

“We have fisheries resources in our waters but lack access to capital needed to institute large scale fisheries operations. In this regard CNMI Is interested in how the commission can insist some members and territories to obtain increased benefits and capacity derived from tuna fisheries in the region,” said Torres.

Early this year the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands hosted the 23rd Micronesian Islands Forum where  heads of states adopted two resolutions related to fisheries.

“The MIF leaders committed to combating illegal unregulated and unreported fishing in Micronesia and recognise the need for funding and capacity-building assistance from national and intergovernmental partners and non- governmental organizations. We also committed to monitoring fisheries resources in the context of shifting distribution of tuna stocks and other climate change impact on food security,” Torres said.

 “I look forward to working cooperatively with commission Members, Cooperating non-members, participating territories and other delegates during this week’s session and onward for sustainable fisheries development programme,” said Torres……PACNEWS