Solomon Islands Prime Minister Announces Supports for new Fisheries Act

Tri Marine CEO expresses gratitude for support of new act that provides for continued access to important European Union market

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 3, 2015


HONIARA, SOLOMON ISLANDS – Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare met with Tri Marine CEO Renato Curto to discuss the importance of maintaining access to the tuna market in the European Union (EU) for the tuna industry in the Solomon Islands.

Recently, the EU gave notice to the Solomon Islands government regarding changes in its fishery management practices necessary to maintain exports to the EU. This is part of the EU’s program that addresses illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU).  It applies to all countries that are exporting to the EU, some of which have already received similar notices. 

During their discussion, Prime Minister Sogavare and Curto emphasized how EU market access is critical to maintaining the economic viability of SolTuna and National Fisheries Developments (NFD), Tri Marine-owned businesses based in the Solomon Islands providing critical jobs and food supplies for local communities. 

The continued operation of SolTuna and NFD is critically important to our economy and food security,” said Prime Minister Sogavare. ”We understand and respect the EU’s right to decide which fish it allows to be imported into its market. We also recognize the importance of eliminating IUU fishing – a practice that deprives Solomon Islands and its regional partners of our rightful benefits from these resources. Maintaining access to the EU market is vital to our country, and Solomon Islands intends to be a regional leader in good fishery management.  I am therefore requesting Parliament to pass a new Fisheries Act as a priority.  In addition, I am also directing the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Resources to take whatever steps are necessary in order to correct any deficiencies within our fishery management practices that have been highlighted by the EU. This will allow our tuna industry to continue exporting to the EU and will preserve the contributions that SolTuna and NFD are making to our economy and food security.”

SolTuna is a large-scale tuna processing company.  The high volume of its operation allows it to produce canned tuna at low cost. That cost allows SolTuna to be an efficient, reliable and economical supplier of high-quality canned tuna to the people of the Solomon Islands.

“To maintain high levels of production and efficiency, SolTuna needs access to foreign markets, especially the EU. Access to the EU market is an integral part of SolTuna’s business,” said Curto. “We care a great deal about the people and communities of the Solomon Islands. We are grateful for the hospitality, fair treatment and support provided to NFD and SolTuna by Prime Minister Sogavare and his government.  We are intensely proud of the accomplishments by the NFD and SolTuna management.  They are doing a great job but all of that will be in vain if we cannot maintain access to the EU market.”

Foreign markets absorb more than half of SolTuna’s production.  Without sales to those export markets, SolTuna would have to reduce the scale of its operations and reduce employment.  At lower levels of production its costs would increase to the point that SolTuna would not be economically viable.  The EU is SolTuna’s most important export market, taking about 70 percent of all exports by value. 

SolTuna and NFD employ about 2,500 people in the Solomon Islands.  Together, they are responsible for over SBD 400 million in export earnings and SBD 65 million in payments to the Solomon Islands government.

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AABOUT Tri Marine

Tri Marine is a recognized leader in fishing, processing and distributing high-quality tuna products to the world’s markets.  The company focuses on quality, sustainability, innovation and customer satisfaction.  As a socially responsible operator, Tri Marine has chosen to invest in the communities closest to fishery resources. Together with its workforce of over 5,000 employees, Tri Marine is committed to all of its customers, suppliers and stakeholders for the long term. For more information, visit www.trimarinegroup.com.