Niue’s Minister for Natural Resources, Mona Ainu’u

By Pita Ligaiula at COP28 in Dubai, UAE

Niue’s Minister for Natural Resources Mona Ainu’u, has highlighted the importance of tuna for the island nation in a panel discussion about the impact of climate change on fisheries.

The event took place Monday at the Moana Pasifika Pavilion on the fringes of COP28 in Dubai.

“All of us know, we rely heavily on our ocean for food security, and tuna stock in the Pacific is one of the highest historical food sources, but it will continue to be threatened. The biggest manmade consequence of climate change. Absolutely more emphasis must be on a blue estate.

“It’s our sovereignty, our cultural inheritance. It’s what our ancestors taught us to respect and protect, and the ocean will continue to provide for generations,” Minister Ainu’u said.

Niue, despite being a small jurisdiction, has taken measures at a domestic scale to manage fishery stocks, including legislation and governance mechanisms.

“We rely heavily on regional collaboration and management, including individual groupings like (Parties to the Nauru Agreement(PNA),” she said.

She also mentioned Niue a tiny nation in the Pacific is now the chair of the Tuna Commission.

“Niue is now the chair of the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission(WCPFC). Yay for Niue, a very small jurisdiction, but she’s the chair.”

She said despite limited fishing activities, Niue had become the chair, working with partners like the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)and global organisations to enhance sovereign assets.

Ainu’u also said Niue’s commitment to ocean conservation, including the establishment of the project, committing 40 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to conservation.

She pleaded for action against illegal, unregulated fishing, citing reports of over US$600 million in such activities in the Pacific.

“We’re losing stock because of the warming seas, and illegal fishing makes monitoring difficult for a small jurisdiction like ours. We’re calling out to people to help us protect our oceans,” she said.

Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, commended Niue’s leadership in conservation within the region.

“It doesn’t matter how small you are; the mind can create, think, dream, and achieve amazing innovation and ideas from the Pacific.

We can’t wait to see what you do next, and our Pacific countries welcome your pledge,” she said.