World Tuna Day celebrated in Port Moresby

TUNA is a strategic resource for PNG but challenges the industry faces are set to increase.
World Tuna Day celebrated in Port Moresby World Tuna Day celebrated in Port Moresby World Tuna Day celebrated in Port Moresby World Tuna Day celebrated in Port Moresby World Tuna Day celebrated in Port Moresby

Staff Reporter

Held at the Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, the inaugural World Tuna Day was coordinated by the National Fisheries Authority and involved a variety of stalls, competitions and a tuna-themed float parade. 
The day was established in 2011 by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, but only through a UN General Assembly resolution last year was it officiated as an international event. 
The PNA consists of the Pacific nations of PNG, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Tuvalu, Marshall Island, Nauru, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. 
These countries are responsible for the management and harvest of 50% of global tuna, according to National Fisheries Authority managing director John Kasu. Tuna from PNG waters accounts for 20-30% of regional catch, and represents about 10% of global supply.
"PNG recognises the fisheries sector will grow the economy, with tuna being the most important of all fisheries resources. It generates and contributes significantly to the revenue of the country," Kasu said.
"This day acknowledges that our tuna globally has great value and that we must work together to provoke a stronger awareness of greater global efforts in sustainable management and conservation of the tuna resource."
United Nations head of mission in PNG Roy Trivedy gave the keynote address, noting the economic importance of the sector and the interconnectivity of fisheries with attaining developmental goals. 
He warned the industry could face increasing challenges looking forward, particularly from illegal and unregulated fishing. The impact of climate change would also pose a major challenge.
"Climate change will impact on seas, oceans and of course marine life, but also on river systems," Trivedy said.
"That is why World Tuna Day was recognised. Tuna is a highly migratory species. It crosses international borders and especially has value in terms of food security and economic value."
Trivedy emphasised that good governance, good management and conservation would be key to developing a sustainable future for the tuna resource. 
Recognition of tuna as an economic and cultural asset also extends to PNG's youth.
Elias Bosco, member of the winning student debate team from Wasu Secondary School in Morobe, said World Tuna Day was good because it celebrated one of the resources of Papua New Guinea. 
"Fishing is very important in our community because it helps me get an income," Bosco said.
"It is also important for food security because we are a coastal people and it is also a source of cultural identity."