Solomon Islands Cautioned To Effectively Manage Tuna Industry

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PNA director says industry needs rethinking, focus on local benefits

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 21, 2012) – Solomon Islands tuna industry must not repeat what happen to our logging industry because if we are not careful we will also be robbed off our tuna resources.

These were the comments of Dr. Transform Aqorau during the Communicating Tuna Workshop which concluded in Honiara yesterday.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) director said the resource that is easily managed is our forests.

"These resources are where we live but yet we were still robbed by these logging companies due to poor policies and decision making," Dr. Aqorau said.

"How much more will it be for our tuna fisheries if there were no management and conservative measures in place?"

He said sea resources required a lot of effort from the national government, relevant authorities, organizations like the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, the tuna commission and other bilateral partners.

"The tuna industry had significantly contributed to the socio economic development of this country," the PNA director said.

"This is the only industry with the largest number of employees apart from the public sector. But it needs a total change of mindset from our leaders and government officials.

"To realize the real value of tuna by owning our own fishing vessels, crewed by locals, processed the catches on shore and sell finished products, we can be self reliant."

He said we have seen the socio-economic benefit this industry has contributed to this country over the years.

He said the tuna industry has provided job opportunities for many Solomon Islanders employing over 1,500 employees and drive business activities in Noro.

Soltuna managing director Adrian Wickham said if it wasn’t for Soltuna and National Fisheries Division, business activities at Noro will be dead.

Soltuna factory at Noro is the largest single industry employer in the country, employing more than 1,500 employees at its peak.

Business activities in Noro are primarily driven by the tuna industry.

Dr. Aqorau said these are indications of how important the industry is and how it drives economic activity both domestically and internationally.

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