Minister Anne Ruston stressed the importance of tuna fishing to the Pacific Island Nations. (Photo: Goverment of Australia/aes256 /CC BY 2.1 jp)
Pacific ministers analyse tuna fishery future in Australia
Thursday, July 06, 2017, 02:00 (GMT + 9)
The sustainable management of fisheries in the Pacific, particularly tuna fisheries, has been scheduled as one of the central issues to be discussed at the 14th Forum Fisheries Committee Ministerial Meeting.
The plan was released by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, who informed that in 2015 the global tuna catch was valued at around USD 4.8 billion and almost half of this was caught in the waters of Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) member nations including Australia.
“These tuna fisheries are an important economic resource for Pacific Island nations and it is vital for the future of these nations that they are managed sustainably,” Minister Ruston pointed out.
The officer also welcomed the meeting with their Pacific neighbours and their fellow FFA members to ensure fish stocks in the region are managed sustainably for the benefit of all.
The FFA Secretariat is the key fisheries management body for Pacific Island countries, providing strategic fisheries management advice to 17 FFA Member countries, on the management of fish stocks, monitoring and surveillance of fishing activities and trade and market access for Pacific islands Members.
“Australia will seek to ensure that the FFA Secretariat continues to follow good governance principles to help support a thriving industry that will provide tuna now and in the future,” Minister Ruston stressed.
Australia is a major donor to the FFA, contributing AUD 5 million (USD 3.8 million) annually in core funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The FFA’s 17 Pacific Island members consist of Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery is Australia’s fourth most valuable Commonwealth fishery, with a real value in 2014-15 of AUD 35 million (USD 26.6 million) and a total catch of 5408 tonnes.