Pacific media commits to stronger reporting of tuna stories

KOROR: The Pacific media practitioners gathering in Palau this week agreed to step up commitment “to stronger, better reporting for enhanced awareness of the importance of sustainable tuna fisheries to Pacific futures”.

Journalists from American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have met this week as part of the 4th Pacific Media Summit hosted by the government, media partners and people of Palau.  

Their two-day Fisheries Forum Agency (FFA) tunanomics Pacific media initiative regional editors dialogue on ‘Reporting the Future of Fisheries – challenges to 2020’ comes two years after the launch in February 2014 of the FFA tunanomics Pacific media initiative at the 3rd Pacific Media Summit in Noumea, New Caledonia. 

The journalists expressed success stories and challenges in covering tuna stories and came up with recommendations that would make fisheries stories more attractive to readers. 

One of the recommendations is “to develop and grow their understanding of tunanomics and what the economics of tuna mean to policy and decision makers, not just to news makers”.

In Palau, although offshore fishing contributes less than five percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Palau is taking a different approach by conservation and beefing up its marine surveillance capacities through its new national marine sanctuary.


However, in terms of news report on tuna, it has never gained so much attention internationally until the move to declare 80 percent of Palau’s EEZ as a marine sanctuary with 20 percent dedicated to domestic fishing.  

Pacific media also agreed to strengthen coverage to the human aspect of sustainable tuna fisheries, including the eyes of island communities and the fishers taking the resource.  

In other nations in the Pacific, policymakers themselves to be educated on tuna fisheries and this can be done with public debate and awareness of this topical issue, through popular platforms such as talkback radio filmed for TV. 

Media members from other island nations also lauded Palau’s marine sanctuary law and efforts to include its local communities in revenue sharing from the tuna economy.

(In this photo taken Wednesday, June 10, 2015, and released by the Government of the Republic of Palau, Vietnamese fishermen sit on their fishing ships anchored at the Marine Law Enforcement Division Port in Koror, Palau, after being caught fishing illegally in the waters of the country. The tiny Pacific nation of Palau, fighting a rising tide of illegal fishing in its waters, has set fire to four Vietnamese boats caught poaching sea cucumbers and other marine life in its waters.)