Tonga Ocean Plan to help better manage tuna and marine resources

There is no doubt that the Pacific’s ocean needs to be better managed so that respective countries in the region can gain the maximum benefits.

This is something the Government of Tonga believes should be done urgently.

Almost everyone believes activities being carried out on Tonga’s waters, including the tuna industry here, have not raked in the maximum that the Kingdom should be getting in terms of income and earnings.

Locals are of the thinking that overseas companies and operators are taking advantage of the lack of monitoring and policing – making money and taking that away overseas, without any contribution to the local economy.

“There is no doubt that a lot of activities have been happening in our ocean, throughout our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and we are not getting the full advantage we should be getting,” Mr Paula Ma’u, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Meteorology, Environment, Information, Disaster Management, Energy, Climate Change and Communication (MEIDECC) said.

“This includes the tuna industry and fisheries in general. And we have decided that we needed to look into how best we can better manage our marine resources and activities so that we gain the benefits we should be getting.

“That saw the birth of the Tonga Ocean 7, which is the name we have given our team tasked with putting together the Tonga Ocean Plan.”

The Tonga Ocean 7s is made up of government ministries and departments who have come together with the common interest of ensuring that Tonga’s ocean and its resources are managed for a sustainable future.

These ministries and departments include the Ministry of MEIDECC, Ministry of Lands and Survey, Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Tourism, the Marine Department, the Ports Authority of Tonga and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.