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Asian Development Bank Forum Calls For Keeping Tuna Market Tight

The first regional symposium on commercial tuna fishing industry called for reforms to resources management that will help Pacific countries attain more economic benefits.

Data compiled by regional fisheries agencies and presented to "The Future of Our Fisheries" symposium showed Pacific nations receive less than 2% of total revenues gained from regional tuna fishing.

The symposium urged for new restrictions on skipjack, bigeye and yellow fin tuna catches to help conserve stocks and keep market supply tight. Changes to the procedures by which access rights are awarded were also raised at the forum.

“The discussion has confirmed some of our deep concerns over the status quo, but also raises our hopes that measures are being taken to improve our future," said Senator Tony DeBrum MP.

Dr. Transform Aquorau, Deputy Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency in Solomon Islands,  emphasized the importance of Pacific nations asserting more control over their tuna resources and in doing so gaining greater economic empowerment.

The event was held at the International Convention Center in Majuro last week, with a concurrent meeting of delegates from the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA): Federated States of Micronesia (FSM); Kiribati; Tuvalu; Solomon Islands; Papua New Guinea (PNG); Palau; Nauru; and the RMI. Over one-third of the world's supply of tuna for canning, as well as significant amounts of high-value tuna for the sashimi market is fished in the waters of these countries. The PNA is committed to independently and effectively managing their tuna resources.

"The forum presented a willingness of increased cooperation among PNA members which will be invaluable as major changes take place in the management of the Pacific tuna fishing industry," said Kiyoshi Nakamitsu, ADB Desk Officer for the RMI.

Regional lawmakers, traditional leaders, fisheries managers, educators, industry executives, media and the public attended the forum.