By NETANI RIKA in Port Moresby
CLIMATE change threatens Tuvalu’s national survival through direct impact on tuna stocks.
The small atoll state told members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission that tuna was its most important natural resource.
Tuvalu’s Fisheries Minister, Alapati Taupo, told the WCPFC’s 16th Regular Session that they must address equitable solutions to climate change impacts on tuna.
“The climate change emergency is an issue that threatens the very survival of Tuvalu as a country; and the evidence now shows that it will have severe impacts on our most important natural resource – the tuna resources of our Exclusive Economic Zone,’’ Taupo said.
“Tuvalu urges WCPFC to take a strong stand on the issue of climate change.’’
Forum Fisheries Agency Director General, Dr Manu Tupou-Roosen, recognised calls from Tuvalu and other member states for stronger action on climate change.
“Members are calling for stronger action by the (Western and Central Pacific Fisheries) commission, specifically looking at full recognition of impacts of climate change on fisheries, food security and livelihoods,” Tupou-Roosen said.
“(We must ensure) that the commission actively considers those impacts and they deliberate on the development of conservation management issues, again looking at the carbon footprint estimate.’’
Tupou-Roosen said member-states had called for a strong course of action.
“We must meet this challenge head on - it's clear from our leaders,’’ she said.
“So, we will need to look at what it is in (our) activities and provide options for how to offset or reduce the carbon footprint.’’
Tuvalu indicated that it would be open to further discussion in an effort to reach consensus on issues including climate change.
“It is in all our interests to reach agreement and strengthen the management of our oceanic fisheries resources,” Fisheries Minister Tupou said.
Forum Fisheries Commission Chair, Eugene Pangelinan, said it was important to have a starting point on discussions.
“I think we need to understand and climate change is happening to us and as the minister highlighted, we need to start the process here,” Pangelinan said.