Kiribati fisheries minister takes chairmanship of FFC


Kiribati Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Development, Ribanataake Tiwau, has been appointed Chair of the Forum Fisheries Agency’s Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) at the Committee’s 19th meeting in Tarawa this year.

At the official opening of the meeting on Tuesday at the new Kiritimati Island Fish Limited office in Ambo, Tiwau used his own version of the famous ‘I have a dream’ speech to get things started.
“I have a dream” that one day our Pacific Region will become the tuna cartel of the world, where we control the supply and dictate the price of our tuna resources for the benefit of our people.

“We have the means to fully maximise our social and economic benefits from our tuna resources, along the tuna value chain. Among our membership, we have those with a fishing, processing, marketing and trading capacity. What is needed is a complementary approach that will pool in those advantages for the benefit of us all.”

Ribanataake Tiwau told his regional counterparts to ‘keep those words in our minds to allow us to pave the way in developing initiatives that will lead us to achieving that dream’.

“In our vast Pacific Ocean we are very fortunate, to sit within the equatorial belt of the Western and Central Pacific (also referred as a tuna corridor), where skipjack, yellowfin, Bigeye and Albacore tuna fisheries are very abundant and worth around US$6 billion in catch value. The end value of the global value of tuna, as estimated by PEW is around US$40billion and almost half of the world tuna supply are sourced from our vast ocean space.

“Our tuna stocks are also very healthy as compared to other oceans because of our robust management measures, the ingredients needed for the sustainable use of our tuna resources, needed to achieve our economic development aspirations.

Tiwau encouraged his fellow ministers to use the advantages they have to fully maximise their social and economic benefits from their tuna resources, along the tuna value chain.

“Among our membership, we have those with a fishing, processing, marketing and trading capacity. What is needed is a complementary approach that will pool in those advantages for the benefit of us all.

“As we paddle together, navigating our ways through the many challenges we face, caused by climate change, COVID 19, global tuna politics, geopolitical issues, and many more, I have no doubt that, as always, we will pass through those challenges with flying colours,” said Tiwau.

“Our resolve and resilience has been truly reflected in the successes of our technical regional institutions such as the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Pacific Community (SPC) and other CROP agencies, in taking us through these challenges for the last 40 plus years.

Tiwau said the successes of ‘our technical regional institutions, depends entirely on our collective effort and guidance, as members of the governing body of these regional organisations.

Meanwhile, Forum Fisheries Director General, Dr Tupou-Roosen made a courtesy visit to Kiribati Vice President Dr Teuea Toatu this week.

DG Tupou -Roosen thanked Dr Teuea Toatu for the warm hospitality and support for the 19th Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC19) Ministerial meeting and the Regional Fisheries Ministers Meeting (RFMM3) held this week in Kiribati.

“We are very grateful to Dr Teuea Toatu for his valuable time and for graciously hosting our FFA Ministers, Officials, staff and our partners at a welcome dinner.

It is such an honour to be here in Kiribati for our first annual FFC and RFMM3 in person in over 2 years. We are truly grateful to the Government, and People of Kiribati for warmly hosting us in your beautiful country. We also acknowledge the work of the Fisheries Minister, Minister Ribanataake Tiwau, Permanent Secretary Dr Agnes Yeeting and her team for all the efforts in making us all so welcome” she said.