UN instates annual World Tuna Day

Published on
December 8, 2016

Commencing next year, 2 May will be internationally recognized as World Tuna Day to highlight the vital socio-economic importance of the widely consumed fish to people around the world, the United Nations’ General Assembly has proclaimed.

The General Assembly said the terms of a World Tuna Day proposal, introduced at the UN’s New York headquarters by the representative of Palau on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States, was adopted without a vote, with the 193-member body confirming its commitment to raise global awareness of “tuna’s critical role” in the food security and economic livelihoods of many countries and of the “serious threats” facing its long-term sustainability.

Peter Thomson, president of the General Assembly, said the text to be adopted declaring 2 May annual World Tuna Day was an important step in recognizing the critical role of tuna to sustainable development and food security.

Palau’s representative informed the meeting that some 256 million cases of tuna were consumed annually, amounting to USD 7.5 billion (EUR 6.9 billion), and said tuna had served as an important source of food for people across the Pacific islands for centuries.

“However, tuna faced serious challenges to their long-term sustainability, as there were more hooks and nets set for tuna than for any other group of fish. To preserve healthy populations of tuna in the future, efforts needed to be strengthened to end overfishing and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing,” the representative said.

World Tuna Day was initiated in 2011 by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), comprising the eight members: Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

“We are delighted with United Nations ratification of World Tuna Day,” said Ludwig Kumoru, CEO of PNA. “It confirms the world’s appreciation of the value of tuna.”

Among Pacific islands, and particularly PNA members that control the world’s largest sustainable skipjack tuna fishery, tuna is a primary source of revenue for governments and a key part of food security for island populations, said Kumoru.

“Thanks to the United Nation’s vote today, next year’s World Tuna Day celebration will be a global event that reminds us of the importance of tuna to our economies, livelihoods and food security.”

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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