News Item

​Fisheries knowledge and awareness crucial for Pacific youth

News 3 May 2017

The luxuriant marine resources of the Solomon Islands are one of its most beautiful natural features and its hundreds of islands and thousands of fringing reefs and lagoons are vital both to domestic food supplies and export income.

Maintaining sustainable fisheries is vital to many people’s livelihoods and the country’s economy – and it is also an area Solomon Islander and New Zealand Scholar Danny Shadrech (pictured) feels very passionate about.

Currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in Oceanography at the University of Otago in Dunedin, Danny is a far cry from the sunny Solomon Islands, where he will return after completing his degree.

The Scholar will visit Auckland this month however, for the Pacific-NZ Fisheries Forum at Rydges Hotel on May 15.

Hosted by Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) in collaboration with Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA), delegates attending the forum will be able to learn from each other about better effectiveness and efficiencies; and about growing investment opportunities and gaining greater market access.

The forum is relevant to what Danny is studying and he is very keen to attend the one-day event, where he anticipates learning a great deal.

“For example, we are learning about the productivity in the ocean and where this productivity is highest in the Pacific region,” he explains.

“By attending this forum, I hope to learn important values and attributes from the great leaders who will be present at the event; and how these leaders counter and overcome the issues of fisheries in our Pacific region,” Danny says.

“Also, I want to understand how fisheries in the Pacific region has operated in the past, and how it will do so in the future as this will help shape my thinking about the industry, particularly in my home country.”

Danny believes the fishing industry in the Solomon Islands is “back-pedaling”, and the country is now staring at an uncertain future about its crucial marine resources.

“We are struggling to stop over-harvesting of fish, but we are also fighting foreign intrusion into our waters, people stealing our sea resources,” he says.

In April, three blue boats from Vietnam were caught fishing in the Solomon Islands waters and were seized and brought to Honiara where they were charged with illegal fishing.

“This is just one of the many problems we are facing, and it poses a threat to the future of our waters and our marine resources.”

As a potential future leader of his country, Danny says it is important for Pacific youth to be educated and aware about how one of the region’s most valuable resources is being utilised and and in some cases, exploited.

We are the future leaders and being aware of what is going on will inform us on how we can sustainably harvest and protect our marine resources considering the biological, physical, chemical and geological connections happening in the ocean.

If youth are unaware about what is happening in the Pacific Ocean, they will be unable to save it and its resources, Danny adds.

“However, by knowing what is going on, such as what we put into the ocean, what we get from it, processes happening within our ocean and so on, we can raise our voices to try and protect it, knowing there are better ways of utilizing and the resources.”

The ocean is central to Pacific Islanders – therefore it is essential to understand it, Danny adds.

Guest speakers at the event include Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development Matua Shane Jones; James Movick, Director General of Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); PITIA Chairman Frank Wickham; Principal Advisor Crown Maori Capability for the Office of the Executive at the NZ Treasury Trevor Moeke; Ngati Whatua Chief Executive Officer and Director, Te Ohu Kaimoana (Maori Fisheries Commission) Rangimarie Hunia; Solander (Pacific) Director Charles Hufflett; along with Founder and CEO of Alfa Fishing – and PCF Grow Pacific participant Alfred Kalontas.

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.

Forum tickets are available at ITICKET now.

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)