Finance minister Rick Hou made the call when he opened PNA’s 33th annual meeting in Honiara yesterday.
“...as directors of your respective countries’ fisheries ministries, you are entrusted with this highly valuable resource. I therefore urged you to take decisive action to see increased PNA participation and equitable returns to our people and countries,” Mr Hou said.
He added that PNA must continue the benefits from the increased participation and strong regional integration to develop the fisheries sector.
Mr Hou stressed that it is pleasing to see the ongoing strong leadership and action undertaken by PNA in sustainable fisheries and conservation management of the tuna resource.
“Which includes setting up of the reference points, bench mark pricing and creative strategies such as pooling, better management of Fishing Aggregated Devices (FADs) and the fisheries sector overall,” Mr Hou, who is currently acting fisheries minister, said.
He added PNA has been impressive with the work on the Marine Stewardship Certificate (MSC) and Pacifical as means of seeing premiums and the global promotion of the region and its people as identical with the sustainable wild skipjack, pristine waters and just be idyllic pacific islands.
Minister Hou further highlighted that although the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission(WCPFC) continually fails to agree on measures put forward by PNA and FFA members, this should not be seen as disaster but opportunity for PNA to lead the way.
“The non performance of WCPFC in many areas I don’t see it a disaster, rather an opportunity for PNA to take the lead.
“Whilst Distant Water Fishing Nations(DWFN) spar over what are our resource, I see it as our mandated duty to take this as an opportunity for PNA and our region to maintain control and strengthen our [positions,” Mr Hou stressed.
He said PNA should make the global industry jump to their tune by setting the terms, keep the markets strong and control it because the fish belongs to PNA.
Meanwhile, Mr Hou urge all member representatives to make the best out of the next few days as he hoped to see an outcome of hard decisions needed to manage the tuna resource sustainably for the region benefit.
He called on PNA members to act cooperatively and decisively without fear to maintain tight VDS and control the supply of cheap fish to competitors.
“I believe in doing so, we will maintain healthy prices and high catch rates to assists the viability of our domestic economies... fish is our future,” Mr Hou said.
By DANIEL NAMOSUAIA