PACIFIC Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) is relocating its Secretariat from Tonga to Honiara.
And Solomon Islander John Maefiti has been appointed as its new Executive Officer.
The relocation follows a decision by PITIA’s executive board in November 2015.
The day-to-day business of PITIA is undertaken by the Secretariat with oversight by a Board of Directors which consists of a senior industry representatives from its member associations and chaired by Frank Wickham, General Manager of National Fisheries Developments Ltd, Solomon Islands.
The PITIA office is hosted by NFD and located in the Panatina Plaza in Honiara.
PITIA is the regional body for national fisheries associations in Pacific Island Countries (PICs), with membership open to all the Forum Island Countries industry bodies except Australia, New Zealand and Tokelau.
PITIA’s focus is primarily the commercial fishing of tuna however through its working relationship with Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO) as the PIPSO’s Fisheries Working Group, PITIA also gets involved in the other sub-sectors of fisheries.
The focus of PITIA’s work consists of 3 different target areas
Firstly, representation of commercial interest to policy making forums. During times of negotiating of policy by island governments, the commercial impact and the practicality of operations is often lost in the process. Science and the political interests often take precedent to that of commercial aspects.
The representation of the interest of the industry is crucial to both the economic sustainability of the domestic industry as well as the enhancing of compliance of such policies.
PITIA has achieved observer status at several crucial policy forums and is the recognized industry representative to Forum Fisheries Committee meetings.
Building the profile of both PITIA as an organisation and the industry as an economic sector is another crucial role that the organisation performs on behalf of its members.
This is done through dissemination of information from policy-making forums and other avenues.
Receiving information indicating upcoming policy initiatives that will lead to increased compliance obligations is relevant information for future business planning.
The line of communication between national authorities and fishers at the operational level is limited. However, PITIA uses different tools of communication targeting different audiences for this purpose.
Promotional of sustainable fishing behaviour, which adds value to the economy is another important role PITIA plays.
There are a number of constraints to the development of the Pacific Islands domestic industries.
As clearly identified in the organisation’s functions there are some very specific areas of development interest that needs to be facilitated at the regional level by working closely with the individual country members of PITIA.
These initiatives are targeted at improving the return value on PITIA membership fisheries products.
Work is being done by the sub-regional arrangements and some support is made from Forum Fisheries Agency through its DevFish II project to the specific member countries.