FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2 February, 2017
Contact: John Maefiti, Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association, + 677 7449594, firstname.lastname@example.org
PITIA Commends Solomon Islands for Lifting of “Yellow Card”
The Solomon Islands fishing industry received good news this week as the European Commission (EC) lifted its cautionary “yellow card” designation. That designation was set in December, 2014 when the EC determined that Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and other government entities were not doing enough to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in waters of the Solomon Islands.
Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association’s executive officer Johan Maefiti applauded the announcement. “This is excellent news for the fishing industry, for fishermen and for companies like Soltuna, which processes tuna here in the Solomon Islands for international markets. On behalf of all our members, we would like to congratulate everyone who worked hard to make this happen. We have implemented strong mitigation measures against IUU fishing, and assured our access to critical European Union markets going forward.”
Solomon Islands fisheries exports to the European Union are worth approximately SBD $500m annually, and an escalation to red card status would have been a disaster for the industry. The lifting of the yellow card status is an indication that strong enforcement for handling, processing and food safety are now in place.
According to Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Director General James Movick, the shift from yellow to green card status is recognition of collaborative efforts on the part of fisheries stakeholders. ““The announcement ends more than two years of hard work led by the Solomon Islands government, other ministries working with the fisheries sector, and the industry. We could not be more pleased that the tireless work to address these concerns and challenges have met with success.”