Brother, Sister Duo From FSM Win World Tuna Day Art And Talent Quest

Parties to the Nauru Agreement judges wowed by powerful message of conservation, unity

HAGÅTÑA, Guam  (The Guam Daily Post, May 3, 2017) — A brother and sister duo from the FSM impressed judges in a recent art contest with a powerful message calling for conservation and unification across Oceania.

“Now is the time to go hand in hand, we must come together as one; protecting our tuna,” Raychel and Richard Narruhn exclaim in their video submission to the PNA World Tuna Day Art and Talent Quest. “We are one people. We share a common source.”

PNA stands for Parties to the Nauru Agreement, which involves eight Pacific island countries that control the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, supplying 50 percent of the world’s skipjack tuna. They are the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Since the fish is so popular among commercial industries, their populations are at risk from overfishing and depletion.

“We just wanted to call out to the people of our Pacific nations to come together as one in order to protect our tuna,” Raychel Narruhn said. “Whether we’re fishing or buying it, tuna is important for our sustenance.”

Since 2011, PNA ministers have celebrated May 2 as World Tuna Day to promote sustainable fishing practices. But this is the first year that the annual celebration has been recognized by the United Nations.

“This is a very exciting year for the PNA,” said PNA Technical Advisor Dr. Transform Aqorau. “For us in the Pacific, thousands of people go to work each day because of the tuna industry. You can see the dependency on the sustainability of this industry. Peoples’ livelihoods depend on it.”

Aqorau said what struck him with the Narruhn siblings’ submission was their overarching message.

“It was hard to pick a winner because they were all really good,” Aqorau said. “But it just so happened that they have a really great song, it was well-performed and the message was so powerful.

“I absolutely agree with it. As Pacific Islanders, we’re not separated by our ocean, we’re joined by it. The same should go for our governance, licensing and fishing standards.”

Aside from the external challenges of foreign fishing interests from Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, one of the biggest threats skipjack tuna and the responding industry face is climate change.

Aqorau said the PNA’s projection models indicate that as ocean temperatures rise, the number of skipjack tuna in the region will likely face a drastic decline.

“This is something we can try to work around. But there is no way to mitigate climate change itself,” Aqorau said.

The siblings won $3,000 for their submission. This is also the first time musicians have won in the five-year history of the competition, PNA Tuna states.

Raychel Narruhn said the duo has received an overwhelmingly positive response to their song, and that they look forward to producing more music in the future.

The art and talent quest highlights the unique relationship citizens of PNA member-states have with tuna and other vital ocean resources.

Marianas Variety
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