THE Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Nestor Giro has highlighted a number of strategic approaches his ministry is taking to ensure the country receives maximum benefits from Tuna fisheries.
Minister Giro and his senior officials were in Noro over the weekend to support and commemorate World Tuna Day in the Tuna Capital.
He said the National Government through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources would continue to assist Tuna companies in Noro, to ensure that they too get maximum benefits.
“I wish assure you that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, as the responsible Ministry for the development and management of the tuna fishery had taken strategic approaches to ensure our tuna resources are well managed to ensure Solomon Islands receives maximum economic and social benefits,” Giro said.
Among these steps is the Ministry’s mission to create and consolidate job opportunities from existing tuna fishing and processing industries.
The other is the to create new jobs and economic opportunities for wider cross-section of the population through new policy initiatives while at the same time support Infrastructure developments – through new investments for onshore facilities – in this regard the Ministry is taking lead in the Bina Harbour project.
Also on the list of approaches is the mission to support and consolidate the PNA Vessel Day scheme for both Purse seine and longline fisheries while beefing up collaboration with Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) partners to leverage additional income streams and benefits from certification of shared tuna resources.
The other two approaches include reviewing legislations and legal frameworks to accommodate recent changes within the tuna fisheries and Dedication of staff to ensure tuna fisheries are promoted towards a “National Priced Asset” where the Government want to drive the future of our Tuna towards.
This year’s World Tuna Day was celebrated on the Theme “TUNA OUR PRICED NATIONAL ASSET” to reflect and acknowledged the importance of Tuna to Solomon Islands.
The Ministry of Fisheries had generated an annual revenue of more than $300 million dollars from tuna resources for the national budget in the last few years.
“This is something we are proud of since our contribution to our Treasury is the second highest after the Ministry of Finance’s IRD and Customs.
“This revenue is collected from Access fees and sales of fishing days (VDS) to both local and foreign companies,” Giro said.
Regardless of the uncertainties and challenges from the COVID 19 pandemic, the Ministry of Fisheries is working in collaboration with PNA and FFA Secretariats in trying to manage the risks and impacts of this pandemic.
For instance, the Ministry continues to maintain observer placements on our domestic vessels to ensure domestic fleets maintain their Monitoring, Surveillance and Control (MSC) requirements and status in light of the suspension of the Regional observer programme as a direct result of covid-19.
Minister Giro also highlighted the need to support efforts towards managing these important tuna resources.
“Our tuna stocks are currently healthy, but cannot be taken for granted. My Ministry will always work with other FFA and PNA members to ensure this important tuna resource is properly managed, so that our future generations can still access this important resource,” he said.