Fisheries is big business in the Pacific and a means to a solid income for many of the regions’ nations.
Recently, reaping greater economic benefit from regional fisheries has been placed under the spotlight as increasing the yield of the Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery shows the greatest potential for growth.
The Pacific tuna fishery provides 60 percent of the global catch with around two-thirds of it coming from Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) countries’ waters.
Established 1979, FFA facilitates regional co-operation and co-ordination on fisheries policies between its member states.
This helps it achieve conservation and optimum utilisation of living marine resources, in particular, highly migratory fish stocks, for the benefit of the peoples of the region, in particular the developing countries.
Recent FFA figures show two-thirds of the catch is taken by foreign vessels and as much as 90 percent of the fish is processed overseas.
Increasing ways to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing are also areas which have been explored and examined in recent years.
Acknowledging the huge part fisheries plays in Pacific economies, Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand Acting Trade and Investment Commissioner Manuel Valdez and Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong met with FFA Investment Facilitation Manager Tony Sullivan during their recent visit to Honiara.
“Our visit gave us the opportunity to discuss a possible collaboration of investment facilitation on fisheries products, most especially on tuna production and exports,” Ian says.
There are various challenges and issues regarding tuna exports and together, the PTI and FFA representatives brainstormed on how to help these small producers to export their tuna products to the importing countries.
To date, PTI has been facilitating how SolTuna export their products to the New Zealand market and Ian shared his insights with Tony, on how this has progressed.
SolTuna catches tuna in the Solomon Islands, where the fish are abundant as to not over-fish the ocean’s ecosystem. It is also dolphin safe tuna.
Manuel also offered PTI services on promoting the tuna exports, and he is hopeful the two organisations will continue working alongside eachother to help business owners, exporters and investors in the region.
Email Pacific Trade Invest Acting Trade and Investment Commissioner Manuel Valdez – Manuel.V@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz for more information.