SUSTAINABILITY of tuna stock in the Pacific Ocean and the rest of global fishing grounds have been urged at the second Pacific tuna forum which started yesterday in Port Moresby.
“While we are in the business of fishing in the region, we must at all times be mindful of the conservation measures while exploiting our tuna stocks and must not compromise our resources for our selfish greed that would result in the depletion of our resource or in its near-depletion stage,” Minister for Fisheries Ben Semri stressed in his keynote address.
About 200 participants that included 31 speakers from 28 countries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) and Asia, Europe and the US are attending the two-day meet which ends today.
National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and Inforfish are jointly spearheading the forum.
Mr Semri said such forums were important in finding “the best sustainable measures” to fish in the waters.
Manila-based Inforfish International director Dr S Subasinghe said the industry was facing issues of sustainability.
He noted that tuna exports to G7 countries provided almost 11% of tuna catch during the first quarter of this year, while the value of seafood exports to Japan fell by almost 18% during first half of this year.
But on the positive note, Mr Subasinghe said reports were indicative of improvements on the economic fronts.
“This will be an appropriate forum for us to discuss issues, problems and strategies in sustaining and developing Pacific tuna resources through application of efficient, cost effective technologies and improved marketing strategies,” he said of the forum.
Mr Semri also recommended that the pole and line fishing technique, which Solomon Island uses, was a sustainable way that should be considered.
He said it was now high time for all Pacific Island countries “to put together best fishing methods … so that we sustain and manage our tuna stock in a best way possible in the Pacific region”.