Small-scale tuna canning training in Palau starts next week

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Tuna canning process.
Photo supplied by Palau’s MRNET.

Palau’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism (MNRET) have attracted at least 20 participants in a tuna canning training to take place Sept. 22 to 27.  The training will be hosted by the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR) and led by FoodStream Inc Australia.

Earlier, MNRET has requested the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to provide tuna canning training for small and medium enterprises (SME) in Palau citing that as the nation gets ready for the full implementation of a national marine sanctuary by January 1, 2020.

“As we are preparing for full implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS), a central aspect of our focus is to build capacity and options for a domestic pelagic fishery. This includes approaches to improve the business feasibility of small-scale, locally-owned and operated vessels and businesses,” MNRET Minister Umiich Sengebau said in a June letter to   Maurice BrownjohnCommercial Manager of PNA Office.

Sengebau said Palau is also looking into options to promote “Palau to the tourism market through its conservation approach to sustainable pelagic fisheries, through such initiatives as the Choose Pelagics Presidential directive.”

He said Palau is also exploring the potential promotion of Palau’s FADs-free zone through Pacifical, and “through unique, locally produced souvenir jars and cans, or ‘Fish With A Story’

He said micro canning will help improve food security and provide employment and business opportunities for Palauans at the same time, providing tuna canning training for small and medium enterprises (SME) in Palau.

“The training is aimed at individuals who intend to produce canned foods on the micro or small commercial scale. Participants will learn how to preserve tuna and other pelagic fish, as well as other seafood, meats, fruits, and vegetables,” MNRET public announcement said last month.

The 5-day training will be delivered through lectures, tutorials, group discussions, and practical sessions. Topics covered include Introduction to Canning; Pre-cooking Tuna in Commercial Operations; Retort Systems and Container Handling; Packaging Systems for Processed Foods; Microbiology of Canned Foods; Principles of Thermal Processing; Retort Operation & Production Records; Water Chlorination and Canning Sanitation; and Regulations relevant to Thermal Processing.

Participants who successfully complete the whole week of training and pass all exams will be issued a Retort Supervisor’s Certificate.

The five-day training is looking for participants who can commit to the full week and pass written exams and a practical exam. The course requires high school-level Math and English skills.

 Australia-based company FoodStream has conducted tuna processing training in Fiji and Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Microcanning in the Pacific started four years ago, Brownjohn said. He said there are volumes of “by-catch,” from tuna fishery although not suitable for large commercial exports but can still be perfect to eat and can be canned locally. He said jars could also be utilized to preserve food.

He said the training provided by FoodStream is the same qualification as you were trained in a reputable cannery in Thailand or somewhere else.

He said in Palau, small scale canning is also a way to attract tourism.

With tuna canning operation, “you are able to produce a shelf-stable product made in  Palau,” Brownjohn said.

“Palau is able to offer a jar, a fish, and a story behind it.”

The Tuna Industry: Embracing technologies and sustainable strategies

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Photo: SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries Inc.

Republished from Panay News, 23 August 2019

by Belinda Sales-Canlas

THE 21st National Tuna Congress is happening on September 4-6, 2019 in General Santos City. The Theme for this year’s Congress: “The Tuna Industry: Embracing Technologies and Sustainable Strategies”. Why this Theme?

The choice of the Theme is anchored on sustainability supported by technologies. We all know that Sustainability of Tuna Resources is paramount to the fishing industry. It cannot be overemphasized that the sustainability of the ocean’s resources does not only rest on the shoulders of government. The same responsibility is likewise demanded of the private sector, especially the global players of the Tuna Industry, and the global fisheries advocates.

The Theme calls that sustainability can only be achieved if Conservation and Management Measures are dutifully observed, and international and regional agreements calling for preservation of species and recovery plans, are honoured.

Sustainability also means no overfishing.  It means that we enable an environment for Tuna and Tuna-like species to spawn and propagate for another season of catch. The intention is not to deplete our resources.

On technology, the world is currently driven by technology. The fishing industry needs to keep up by continuously upgrading systems and processes to achieve full efficiency while being ocean-friendly.


For 2019, the SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII) welcomes its new President, Andrew Philip Yu. Outgoing President Joaquin T. Lu has served SFFAII for 8 years, starting in 2011. He also held the chairmanship of the National Tuna Congress for eight years. 

President Lu’s accomplishments include: Active and dynamic Advocacy, Lobby Work, and Involvement in International and Regional Collaborations; Focused Partnership with National Government and Steadfast Observance and Compliance with Philippine Laws; and Implementation of the electronic Catch Documentation and Traceability System (eCDTS).

On the first, the country is a driven Member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. Under his watch, the Philippines has been granted access to fish in the High Seas Pocket 1 (HSP1). This means that the country’s 36 fishing fleets can fish in the HSP1 of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. This is a major breakthrough for the country. It may be recalled that for a time, the Philippines was no longer allowed to fish in Indonesia. The prohibition affected the Tuna Industry. The severity of the situation was felt in General Santos City, the home base of the Tuna Industry.

Under his leadership, the fishing industry was able to surmount the acute challenge. Of course, even as the Philippines is granted access to fish in the high seas, the country is duty bound to comply with international regulations, like the observance of conservation and management measures.

SFFAII also pushed for the Philippines’ inclusion in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. The high seas of the Indian Ocean and the Exclusive Economic Zones of member-coastal states are potential fishing grounds for Philippine purse-seine fishing vessels. Fishing in other fishing grounds will enable our own fishing grounds to recover.

SFFAII also pushes the promotion of ASEAN Tuna globally and branding it as a suitable and traceable-produced product. SFFAII supports the move to properly label the fishing industry and its allied industries’ products. However, it likewise urges that international certification be made affordable, yielding benefits not only to stakeholders, but also on marine ecosystems.

On Focused Partnership with National Government and Steadfast Observance and Compliance with Philippine Laws. For 20 years, SFFAII has hosted 20 Tuna Congresses. The Tuna Congress is now on its 21st year. The yearly Congress has become a venue for intense lobby efforts from among the active players and loyal stakeholders of the industry. The issues and concerns afflicting the industry are highlighted in the yearly Tuna Congress.

The yields of the past Tuna Congresses include the Formulation of a Policy governing Illegal, Unlawful, and Unregulated fishing practices; Finalization, Production, and Issuance of the Philippine Fishing Vessels Safety Rules and Regulations; 2018 National Tuna Management Plan which is aimed at establishing a sustainably-managed and equitably-allocated Tuna fisheries by 2026 and promoting responsible fishing practices and trade of Tuna products; Creation of National Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council that serves as an advisory/recommendatory body to the Department of Agriculture in policy formulation; Reconstitution of the National Tuna Industry Council; Approval of the Handline Fishing Law and the amendment of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the said law; among others.

On Implementation of the eCDTS. In 2017, a major milestone for the Tuna Industry unfolded when SFFAII partnered with USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership and BFAR to develop and implement the eCDTS. The system, when operational, will trace the movement of seafood from “bait to plate”, all the way through to export markets like US, EU, and neighbouring ASEAN markets. General Santos City has been chosen as the pilot city. Now on its final year, we will see how this system will actually impact the fishing industry.

1.2 tonnes of fish seized in Fiji

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A fishing boat sits in Fiji’s Suva harbour. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

Republished from Radio New Zealand, 21 August 2019

Fiji’s Fisheries Ministry says it has seized 1.2 tonnes of fish of which 600 kilograms are of the banned species donu (grouper) and kawakawa (mackerel tuna).

The temporary fishing bans came into effect on 1 June and ends on 30 September this year.

In June last year, a study showed the kawakawa and donu populations had declined by 70 percent over the last 30 years.

The ministry said in a statement three penalty notices had been issued.

It said the fish seized by the ministry’s enforcement personnel had been preserved for evidence in legal proceedings.

The ministry warned that any person or business found violating the four-month ban period could receive fines of up to $US20,000 for individuals and $US40,000 for corporations.

Pacific Fishing Agency celebrates 40 years

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Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen. Photo: Lisa Williams/PMN

Republished from Radio New Zealand, 12 August 2019

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) celebrated 40 years of operation with a dinner hosted by the Solomon Islands Prime Minister in Honiara.

The organisation was first housed in a two bedroom house in Lengakiki in 1979 to support the sovereign rights of coastal states to conserve and manage their ‘living resources’ including migratory species.

Director General of the FFA, Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, said the group provides a forum for regional cooperation that ensures its 17 country members can leverage fisheries resources to maximize economic and social benefits for their communities.

Reflecting on the 40 years of the organisation, Dr Tupou-Roosen said the FFA is about making a positive difference in the lives of Pacific people, and she thanked past and current staff who served the region.

Study: Climate change will redistribute tuna populations

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Photo: Inigo Onandia/AZTI

Republished from Undercurrent News, 18 April 2019

More skipjack and yellowfin tuna will move to the tropical waters, while albacore, Atlantic bluefin, bigeye and southern bluefin will shift into colder seas in the future, according to research led by AZTI, a Spanish research body. 

If a coastal country’s local fleet anticipates the changes in abundance and distribution of the target species, it may adapt its fishing gear or change its target species, said Haritz Arrizabalaga, who carried out the study with Maite Erauskin-Extramiana.

“Knowing in advance what will happen in the future enables adaptation strategies to the transformations to be drawn up. [A coastal country’s local fleet] may be able to continue fishing the same species, but investing in larger vessels, capable of going out further in search of these species,” said Arrizabalaga.

The researchers took into account the effect of the environmental conditions on the worldwide distribution of tuna species, such as albacore, Atlantic bluefin, southern bluefin, tropical bigeye, skipjack and yellowfin between 1958 and 2004. This enables the influence of climate change in the future to be assessed and specific predictions to be made, they claim. The study has been published Global Change Biology

“During the historical period analyzed, the habitat distribution limits of the tuna have moved towards the poles at a rate of 6.5 kilometers per decade in the northern hemisphere and 5.5km per decade in the southern one. Based on the influence of climate change, even strong changes in tuna distribution and abundance are expected in the future, particularly at the end of the century (2088 – 2099),” said Arrizabalaga.

More specifically, the study forecasts that temperate tuna species, such as albacore, Atlantic bluefin and southern bluefin, will move towards the poles. Bigeye tuna will reduce its presence in the tropics and will move to warmer areas. On the other hand, the analysis predicts that the main two canned tuna species — skipjack and yellowfin — will become more abundant in the tropical areas, as well as in most of the fishing areas of coastal countries, or in other words, in the maritime economic exclusive zones which stretches from their coastline to a distance of 200 nautical miles.

“Tuna predictions offers relatively good news for tuna fishing to continue as an important food source, due to the origin of the main tuna protein consumption in humans comes from skipjack and yellowfin tuna from the tropical area,” said Arrizabalaga.

The study has enabled analysis on how the worldwide distribution and abundance of the main tuna species will vary due to climate change and, in this way, quantify the future trends of the tuna populations. 

“Tuna species are resources of enormous economic importance and a key source of protein for much of the population. As a result of climate change, their habitat distribution is changing and, related to this, the opportunities of different countries to access this source of wealth. This study aims to explain what has happened in the past and predict what will happen in the future so that countries and fishing fleets can come up with adaptation strategies to the new circumstances,” said Erauskin-Extramiana.

Sharks at increasing risk of becoming fishing bycatch

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An adult shortfin mako shark entangled in fishing rope. Photograph: Daniel Cartamil/PA

Researchers call for urgent action to protect large species in international waters

Australian Associated Press, The Guardian – 25 July 2019

The world’s shark populations are at increasing risk of becoming bycatch of international fishing fleets, which harvest them in open oceans where no legal protections exist, Australian researchers have said.

Prof Rob Harcourt, from Macquarie University, said large sharks were more vulnerable to longline fishing and called for urgent action to protect them by implementing management strategies on the high seas.

Harcourt joined colleagues from Australia and 25 other countries to collect and collate data from nearly 2,000 sharks tracked using satellite transmitter tags.

Read the rest of the article here.

Courtesy of Guardian News and Media Ltd.

For more information on the Bycatch Management Information System (BIMS) operating in the Western and Central Pacific, visit