News Item

​Working in partnership vital at upcoming Pacific-NZ Fisheries Forum

News 7 Apr 2017

In Maori, there is a saying, “Kanohi kitea” which translates as “the seen face”.

New Zealand’s Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development Matua Shane Jones has reminded us of this saying, and how crucial building relationships are ahead of the Pacific-NZ Fisheries Forum, on May 15.

The one-day forum staged at Auckland’s Rydges Hotel and hosted by Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) in collaboration with Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA), will allow Maori iwi, NZ and Pacific industry leaders, investors, business owners, governments and their officials to exchange their knowledge, experience and innovations in relation to fisheries.

Matua has a long history of involvement in the fisheries sector and NZ’s Māori fisheries settlement and will be a key-note speaker at the Forum.

The former Member of Parliament has spent time as the Chair of Te Ohu Kaimoana (the Māori Fisheries Commission), where he successfully brokered a legislative agreement on the equitable division of the fisheries’ assets (in excess $1.2 billion NZD), and he has also served as Chairperson of Sealord Products Limited, NZ’s largest fishing enterprise.

He says relationships are incredibly important – and these are strengthened by the interaction and discussions between groups at events such as the Pacific-NZ Fisheries Forum, he says.

“In my three years as Ambassador, there is only a limited upside in transactional partnerships; you have to invest in relationships as it is these relationships that will tide you through both the fine and squally times.”

During the past decade, there have been many changes in the fisheries industry, a key driver of the Pacific economy.

Of significance, is the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), which controls the world's largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, and the influence PNA nations have in the industry.

“The Vessel Day Scheme enables distant water fishing nations to purchase a set number of days from PNA members, at a at a price per day which has a set minimum value, and catch as much fish as they can in those days,” Matua explains.

The Vessel Day Scheme sets overall limits on the number of days purse seine fishing vessels can be licenced to fish in PNA waters (Total Allowable Effort). Days are allocated to each PNA member country and can be traded, such as when a country uses up all its allocation while another has days spare.

A surge in distant water fishing fleets from Asian nations is another significant change, he adds.

New Zealand and the United States used to have a visible number of vessels active in the Pacific, but the “sun has set on non-Asian fleets”.

“Never overlook influence now rests with consumers and the place they shop (ie supermarkets) and this puts pressure on harvesters, processors, and island nations to prove sustainable credentials in the tuna industry,” Matua says.

Delegates attending the Forum will be exposed to a range of knowledgeable and influential key-note speakers from the industry and joining Matua is James Movick, Director General of Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); PITIA Chairman Frank Wickham; Ngati Whatua Chief Executive Officer and Director, Te Ohu Kaimoana (Maori Fisheries Commission) Rangimarie Hunia; PCF Board member, and Ngati Kahungunu Chair Ngahiwi Toamoana; Solander (Pacific) Director Charles Hufflett; Founder and CEO of Alfa Fishing – and Grow Pacific participant Alfred Kalontas; and CEO, Te Ohu Kaimoana Dion Tuuta.

These speakers, among others, will focus on three themes running throughout the forum - iwi shared-learning on fisheries; investment opportunities in fisheries; and market access.

There is a lot of learning that can be shared at the Forum, from NZ to the Pacific, and vice versa, Matua says.

“Both New Zealand and Pacific nations have to defend our interests from the obvious appetite for our resources there is from distant water fishing nations.

“These nations beat to a different drum and have their own agenda and priorities – New Zealand and Pacific nations have to constantly sharpen their focus, and not give into short-term gain, foregoing long-term imperatives,” he adds.

Forum tickets are available at ITICKET.

The Pacific NZ Fisheries Forum will be followed by PITIA’s AGM on May 16.

Pacific NZ Fisheries Forum (hosted by PCF and PITIA)

Where: Rydges Hotel, Federal Street, Auckland

When: May 15, 2017 (8.30am registration)