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APIA, Samoa (May 10, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Tonga’s Secretary for the Ministry of Fisheries, Akauola, says Samoa has proven what can be done to develop fisheries in the region.

"This has not been done by gigantic tuna fleets, experts or expensive consultants," Akauola told the 39th Forum Fisheries Committee meeting held in Samoa’s capital of Apia. "It has been done on the backs of the fishermen and fisherwomen of Samoa."

Akauola said Samoa had paid heavily in terms of loss of life to fishermen, referring to an estimated 30 people who disappeared while hunting tuna during the start of the fishing boom in 1994.

"But in this country, young men have always come forward in time of need to do things, to carry the burden and to develop what must be developed. And on the backs of these young people, has grown what to me is the most exciting fisheries project in the whole of the Pacific.

"I would like to use this opportunity to record my thanks to your Ministry of Fisheries for accepting some of our people from Tonga to come and to study your methods of fishing so that we might also share in the amazing development that has happened here in the last few years."

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