I’ve been working in Fisheries for seven years, and I think it’s mainly because of my interest in this work that I’m still here, at my fourth Tuna Commission. Don’t ask me what my big memories are of attending these meetings.
Every meeting is a recurring schedule, and the best part of it all for me every time is getting to know how deeply other Pacific Islands and distant water nations at the commission with us feel about the fishery we share, what they want from it, and how far they are prepared to go to get it.
From these Commission meetings, I learn just how much we are prepared to stand by our aspirations and priorities for our people. The hardest part of consensus is compromise. For me compromise at the Tuna Commission often means giving up and sacrificing benefits to your people, in the hope you can come to that common understanding. That’s where a negotiation has hope, on common ground between the different mindsets at the table.
I started in Fisheries as a VMS Officer, then Licensing…and now I’m the Director for Fisheries. It’s a year of change for Fisheries as well. It’s been established as a stand alone entity with its own budget. I’m in my first year, and I hope it works out (laughs).
Of all the Conservation and Management Measures here, the most important one for me is the Tropical Tuna Measure. It covers the species that are most important to us all. It’s our livelihood measure, it feeds the catches of our local fishermen, and it feeds our economic revenues for Tokelau. That’s why these small working groups are so important. It doesn’t matter how late it is at night. We have to be there and try to support each other. It’s about protecting our resources. ENDS