For most Pacific Islands countries fish is the only natural resource that is at their disposal, and again for most Pacific economies revenue streams are few. That begs the question: ‘What is a license worth’?
Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association PITIA encourages national governments to properly assess their individual situations and ensure that not only do we benefit in the short term from licensing arrangements but that we derive long-term benefits from these short term arrangements. PITIA also encourages national governments to move away from traditionally only licensing foreign vessels just for access but to utilize this opportunity to facilitate domestic development.
We as Pacific Islanders should be in control of our own developments and only when we are in control of what happens in our waters are we able to drive development in our favour and at the same time maximizing returns to our small and vulnerable economies.
Licenses with little or no obligation to the resource owners are not smart fisheries management. PITIA strongly believes in Management and Development being one and the same.
PITIA appreciates the need for an influx of income to national budgets, however, the sustainability of our resources and a continued ability to earn from our ocean needs to remain an overarching goal in today’s economic endeavours.
Few of us have the resources for the large capital investments that a tuna operation calls for. Taking advantage of foreign fleets and their eagerness to fish in our zones is an opportunity to gain access to the capital required. However, onshore investment, development of infrastructural support services, crewing and onshore employment, market and product intelligence should all be part of this package.
We are all members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) where the convention has provided a foundation for the protection of not just our resources, but our sovereign rights to aspire to develop, and obligating developed economies to ensure this right is realised.
As a region our strength is in ‘Large Ocean States’ as professed by our Leaders in Rarotonga last year. Let’s start behaving like we are!
<secretariat [at] pitia [dot] org>