Solomon Islands want desired returns from tuna

Honiare (Solomon Star): PRIME Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has challenged the Pacific Tuna Forum to ensure island countries get maximum benefit from their harvested tuna resources.

When opening the two day tuna conference held at the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) yesterday, Mr Lilo said true partnership must exist between fisheries managers and industry players to ensure fair benefits for parties involve.

“For so long, we have aspired to achieve our golden dream of getting a return on our harvested tuna resources, something equitable to the catch taken out of our waters. 

“Yet the realities contrasted markedly,” he said.

He said although the regional fishery has contributed more than 30 percent of the world tuna supply, the total return to the region is only about USD$100 million, which he said from a global business, only worth about USD$2 billion.

“This is a mere slice of the value of our catch.  This is very unfortunate, especially when the desire of the region is to assert greater control of, and to secure greater rights to the region’s common tuna fishery, and to maximize economic opportunities from the development of its tuna resources. 

“This for me is the greatest challenge facing the region, and one you must think strategically and innovatively, without fear, to address in this Forum.” 

Around 200 delegates from various tuna industry players around the world and regional tuna managers are attending the two-day 2013 Pacific Tuna Forum, the 4th Regional Tuna Industry and Trade Conference, which started yesterday and ends today.

In his opening address, the Prime Minister said he was pleased to see the focus of the forum’s discussions covers many areas including global and regional overview of the tuna fisheries and industry, investment opportunities, trade and markets, and sustainability, eco-labelling and technological development. 

“These are important discussions to provide the inspiration that we need to give us the courage to swim against the current. 

“The time to let others do things for us is over.

“We must believe in ourselves that in order for us to maximize economic benefits, in order for us to increase the rate of return from five percent to unprecedented levels, we must actively develop our national tuna industry and tailor investment opportunities to our local situations.” 

Solomon Star

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