News of the return to green card status for Solomon Islands tuna into the European Union market provides much-deserved cause for celebration, says the chief of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
“The announcement of the lifting of yellow-card status ends more than two years of hard work led by the Solomon Islands government, other ministries working with the fisheries sector, and the industry—and we could not be more pleased that the tireless efforts to address the concerns and challenges, have finally met with success,” said Director-General James Movick.
“I know the FFA membership join our secretariat team in this hats-off moment for the Solomon Islands,” he said in response to the EU announcement yesterday.
“It is a credit to the minister and cabinet, all the officials and workers involved across the many sectors involved in meeting the health and food safety, and the industry and vessels working to ensure catch documentation and handling standards and systems are now in place.”
For its part, the Solomon Islands Ministry for Fisheries addressed a broad range of issues covering tuna management and development at the national level, staffing and engagement with a broad range of stakeholders, and enforcing rules for fish-handling, processing and food safety.
Minister John Maneniaru had noted the comprehensive reforms and administrative and the legal frameworks aligned to green card status, is a great achievement, but one that must be maintained.
Sustained self-evaluation needed
“The need for sustained and consistent standards of self-evaluation would help support that call for maintaining market access,” said Movick.
FFA technical and advisory staff had worked closely with MFMR personnel to facilitate various aspects of enhancing IUU mitigation systems including inspection practices, legal frameworks and catch documentation.
“Sustaining strong IUU mitigation measures and associated technical and fiscal resources remains an ongoing challenge for all FFA members,” he said.
“There are many facets of tuna fisheries work that exemplify the importance of working as a team, but the EU market access work is surely one of the most formidable features for Pacific nations wanting to get tuna to global markets, and the Solomon Islands is now very familiar with the work involved,” said Movick.