That’s according to its chief executive officer, Solomon Islander Dr Transform Aqorau.
“I want to remind ourselves that when you walk along the streets of Honiara and see women, men and children sitting on the streets selling betel nut and cigarettes, it is because of them that we are here,” Dr Aqorau reminded delegates attending PNA’s 33rd annual general meeting in Honiara yesterday.
“It is for them that we wanted to provide them better opportunities,” he added.
In his special address at the opening of the meeting, Dr Aqorau said what PNA has been fighting for is solely to ensure that people from the eight member countries are economically well off and self sufficient.
He told delegates that the role they have as custodians of 30-40 percent of the world’s tuna resource is to ensure that decisions they make at this meeting should have a global impact.
“As custodians of a larger share of the world’s tuna resource, and as custodians of a billion dollar industry, your job is to get a better share and better value from this industry.
“So that our people can have better jobs than selling betel nut and cigarettes on the streets in Honiara and selling fish in Tarawa.
“And that’s the challenges that lie ahead of us,” Dr Aqorau said.
He said PNA has come 33 years since its establishment but it has not quite there yet.
“PNA can only be there if all the member states work together and cooperate and apply the same rules,” Dr Aqorau said.
The eight Pacific island countries that make up PNA include Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.
Headquartered in the Marshall Islands, PNA controls the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery supplying 50 percent of the world’s skipjack tuna (a popular tuna for canned products).
By DANIEL NAMOSUAIA