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PNA Film Launched On A Life With Tuna

Tuna is the “energizer bunny” that keeps on providing during tough economic times, says Ongerong Kambes Kesolei, the short story winner of last year’s World Tuna Day contest in a new film launched by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA).

The film encompasses the winning story, titled “Tuna, a fish with a special place in my heart,” and Kesolei, 43, tells how the fish has been a staple meal throughout his life in Koror, Palau. He describes how his feelings toward the fish have changed, from aversion during childhood to anticipation for fresh catch at the local market as an adult.

He explains his dislike for tuna as a child, where it was served all the time and perpetually existed in leftovers. “Supper was not a delight to look forward to. It felt like one of the items on a daily list of house chores,” Kesolei says.

But looking back he realizes why tuna was a constant on the dinner table and now appreciates its “magical ability” to provide protein while stretching his mother’s small income.

“Without a doubt, tuna was the food that provided sustenance for the family,” Kesolei says. It allowed his young, unemployed and widowed mother to raise four boys and to use a portion of her small monthly social assistance for other basic family needs.

Kesolei says tuna is also ideal for large social gatherings, such as funerals, because it is easy to prepare and serve without adding a huge food expense.

The film has been launched to coincide with the PNA annual meetings that are taking place in Koror, Palau this week.

The PNA are also calling for submissions for this year’s “World Tuna Day Art and Talent Quest”; the top prize includes USD 3,000 and international promotion of the winning work. The winner will be flown to a special ceremony on May 2, World Tuna Day.

Participants must be nationals of Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands or Tuvalu. To enter, applicants are asked to create an artwork, performance or film on one or all of these themes: Pacific tuna in the wild, Tuna and local cultures and lifestyles, Pacific ways of fishing for tuna, Islanders working together to conserve and manage tuna.

Entries must be sent by email to the PNA at by April 2, 2013. Poetry or short stories cannot be longer than 5000 words and short films or filmed performances must be 20 minutes or less.