World Tuna Day: "Our Tuna, Our Legacy"

Statement
By
H. E. Wesley W. Simina
President
Federated States of Micronesia

World Tuna Day
May 2, 2024

 

          My fellow citizens, on behalf of Vice President Palik, and I extend to you all warm greetings of Kaselehlie, Ran Anim, Lenwo and Mogethin. Kamorale and Happy National Tuna Day!

          May 2nd marks the 8th year since the United Nations General Assembly adopted UNGA Resolution A/RES/71/124 on December 7, 2016, proclaiming May 2 every year as World Tuna Day. The FSM joins our United Nations family by celebrating May 2 as National Tuna Day throughout the Federated States of Micronesia.

          This year’s theme, ”Our Tuna, Our Legacy,” underscores our shared responsibility in celebrating National Tuna Day. I encourage all citizens of our respective States to join us in commemorating May 2 by organizing various activities that highlight the importance of tuna in our lives as a young island nation. Your active participation is crucial in making this celebration a success.

          Tuna is a major source of protein for our people and a source of livelihood for our local fishermen and national economy. On average, we generate $65 million a year from the sale of licenses to foreign and domestic fleets. Today, we can see the impact of our Onshore investments, employment, and other spin-off benefits visible in our states particularly in Pohnpei and Kosrae. The adoption of the first FSM National Oceanic Fisheries Investment Policy, which all five governments of this federation have endorsed, now provides clear guidance to us all on how we move forward together to increase our benefits through collective action and cooperation to improve the investment climate in fisheries. I would like to thank the four Governors of Pohnpei, Yap, Chuuk, and Kosrae fortheir confidence in this policy. Your national government is ready to work hand-in-hand to achieve new levels and greater benefits from our tuna resources.

          My fellow citizens, our tuna serves as a crucial source of nutrition for our nation and the global community, sustaining our livelihoods and ensuring food security. Let us recognize the importance of this resource and work together to safeguard its continued availability for generations to come. To this end, conservation and management guided by a sustainable development policy of our tuna ensures they remain healthy and resilient to fishing pressure and development. Of course, we face many challenges to achieve our long-term goals, such as the most threatening matter we all face today: Climate Change. Climate change is not only an existential threat to our people and islands, but also to the migration and distribution of tunas. While there is clear evidence that climate change will change the distribution of tuna fishing biomass over time, we are engaged at national, regional, and international fora to protect our rights and the rights of securing our EEZ and the benefits we enjoy through various actions, including the permanency of our maritime boundaries. This, I believe, will ensure that the fishing opportunities in the coastal and tuna fishery today remain with the FSM over time as the impact of climate change takes hold as the result of human-induced changes.

          This also highlights the need for a better understanding of our tuna. I call on all our fishermen catching tuna in the FSM to be on the lookout for tags on the tuna. Bring the tagged tuna to your fisheries offices! Although for a small fee, your tuna will go a long way as your contribution to improving our understanding of our tuna resources to ensure we are able to pass on a healthy resource to the next generation.

          My fellow citizens, today, the FSM, in partnership with the Waitt Foundation through Blue Prosperity Micronesia, is working on setting aside conservation areas through Marine Spatial Planning programs, which aim to protect vulnerable marine areas and ecosystems. It is our belief that marine spatial planning will undoubtedly assure that our finite fisheries resources can be developed sustainably and protect the ecosystems in which they thrive.

          As we celebrate this year’s National Tuna Day, I encourage all citizens to actively engage in all National Tuna Day activities organized by your respective States and contribute to ensuring greater understanding and appreciation of the legacy we must chart for ourselves and for the future generations of the FSM.

 

FSM GOVERNMENT

P.O. BOX PS53
Palikir, Pohnpei State, FM 96941
Phone: (691) 320-2228
Fax: (691) 320-2785

 

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