World Tuna Day: A reminder of a rich resource and the need to protect it

by FFA Media | 3 May 2019 | Media releases

High on FFA's agenda for the Tuna Commission meeting next week is the Tropical Tuna Measure – the flagship management instrument intended to guarantee the long-term health of the bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin tuna stocks (Photo: Francisco Blaha)

Joint media release, FFA & NORMA

POHNPEI, 2 May 2019 – The Western and Central Pacific Ocean holds the world’s largest tuna fishery with a total catch of more than 2.5 million tons a year. The target species (albacore, skipjack, bigeye and yellowfin) are being managed at sustainable levels and there is no over fishing occurring for these stocks.  This is in stark contrast to all other oceans.

(See fact sheet on summarising the status of Pacific tuna)

“On World Tuna Day we are reminded of the need to maximise the economic and social benefits from tuna for our people, our communities and our Pacific region. We are also reminded of the critical importance of protecting this rich resource,” said FFA Director General, Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen.

“But we can’t achieve this unless we continue to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and use our world leading frameworks for cooperation such as the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement (NTSA).”

The Niue Treaty is an agreement on cooperation between FFA members about monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing – it includes provisions on exchange of information (about where the position and speed of vessels at sea, which vessels are without licences) plus procedures for cooperation in monitoring, prosecuting and penalising illegal fishing vessels.

While chairing the NTSA session at the 110th Forum Fisheries Committee officials meeting, National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) Executive Director, Eugene Pangelinan reminded delegates that “The NTSA provides members with a legally binding framework to work together to enhance monitoring, control and surveillance activities and ensure sustainability of our tuna resources in order to combat IUU fishing.”

He added that “One way to ensure we have maximum economic returns whilst achieving sustainability of the resource is by sharing information and resources as and when required, to help keep IUU fishing out of the Pacific neighbourhood and that is done through agreements like the NTSA.”

Two years ago the United Nations mandated World Tuna Day in recognition of the need to raise awareness about the importance of tuna and to promote more sustainable fishing practices.  

The FFA is the cornerstone for cooperation between Pacific Island countries in the management of their shared tuna resources.  The FFA Secretariat also provides support to its members with monitoring, control and surveillance activities through national capacity building and regional initiatives.FFA members are leading the way in eliminating IUU fishing through the Regional Aerial Surveillance Program, Regional Observer Program, Vessel Monitoring Scheme, Information and technology services, and working with member countries on innovative new tools such as the Persons of Interest Strategy. 

FFA staff currently attending the 110th Forum Fisheries Committee officials meeting in Pohnpei are joining World Tuna Day celebrations in a fishing tournament organised by NORMA. A celebration to also acknowledge 40 years of existence for two Pacific fisheries organisations – FFA and NORMA.


For more information and photos contact:

Donna Hoerder, FFA Media, +691 920 5332

Richard Clark, FSM Public Information Office, + +691-920-1612

About Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)

FFA assists its 17-member countries to sustainably manage fishery resources that fall within their 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). FFA provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members who make sovereign decisions about their tuna resources and participate in regional decision making on tuna management.

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About National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA)

The Government of Federated States of Micronesia, National Oceanic Resource Management Authority (NORMA) manages oceanic resources and in particular tuna resources, within the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Federated States of Micronesia.