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Pacific-New Zealand Fisheries Forum Underway

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE USE

14 November 2012


Pacific-New Zealand Fisheries Forum Underway

A joint Pacific Islands and New Zealand fisheries forum, organised by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) and the Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) was held in Auckland today.

The Investment Forum brought together interested parties from the Pacific and New Zealand, and Pacific Cooperation Foundation CEO, Meg Poutasi, believes new partnerships will result from the day’s proceedings.

“We’re really happy with the outcomes from today and the level of feedback and interest we’ve had from the various parties that attended,” she says.

“Our aim at PCF is to create partnerships between New Zealand and the Pacific, and to increase export trade out of the region, so events such as today’s Forum are perfect opportunities to sow the seeds and create networking opportunities for this to happen.”

Some of the key points to come out of the forum include a need to create access to training and development networks, and that opportunities for strategic business connections and collaborations with China exist.

Whilst there are opportunities for the region, there are also challenges to overcome. The Forum identified several including access to finance and managing cost structures.

Achieving economies of scale and on-shore processing were identified as important for competitiveness, as well as the ability to provide value-added products and services. The ability to fish within Pacific nations’ waters and keep investment within these countries was also identified as critical to the sector.

Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association Chair Charles Hufflett says the Pacific has the capacity and resources to take advantage of these opportunities, while addressing the challenges.

“While today has highlighted that there remain significant ongoing challenges to fisheries operations in the Pacific, today has also highlighted that there are significant opportunities that can be harnessed to address these issues,” Charles says.

“With assistance in continuing to develop the skill base of our labour force, infrastructure, and with meaningful investment, the Pacific has the capacity to grow sustainable industries that deliver real and lasting benefits to the region. Today’s discussions will result in positive steps in this direction.”

The Investment Forum ends today but members of the Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) that have gathered in Auckland will for the next couple of days continue to have strategic discussions on current issues that impede fishing operations, and opportunities that remain underutilised by the industry. These two days are crucial for PITIA as an organization to gauge members’ views on a strategic way forward.

ENDS

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