SOLOMON ISLANDS COULD HAVE BENEFITED MORE FROM TUNA: FRANZ

World Bank Director for Timor-Leste, PNG and the Pacific, Franz Drees-Gross. Photo credit: www.samoaobserver.ws

World Bank Director for Timor-Leste, PNG and the Pacific, Franz Drees-Gross. Photo credit: www.samoaobserver.ws

Solomon Islands could have benefited more from its tuna resources if it had a more transparent and accountable fisheries management system.

The World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific, Franz Drees-Gross made the statement in an exclusive interview with SIBC News last week.

Mr. Drees-Gross was in Honiara to sign the Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program with the Solomon Islands Government.

The Program aims to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to sustainably manage fisheries resources.

Mr. Drees-Gross said Solomon Islands, among other Pacific Islands countries, could have benefited more from its fisheries resources.

“The tuna that was caught in their waters is worth $4 billion and that’s what we call the first landed value. In other words, when the tuna gets unloaded on the dock it’s worth $4 billion. Once you slice it up and make sashimi it’s worth much more right, but if the first landed catch value worth’s $4 billion, those nine countries together are getting $250 million in royalties and what we’re saying is those nine countries, Solomon Islands among them, could be getting even more from their royalties. They could be getting not $250 million collectively but maybe $500 million if they manage the Vessel Day Scheme better.”

Meanwhile, the World Bank Country Director for Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Pacific says the Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program can help the country get additional funds from its fisheries resources.

“So what we’re helping the Solomon Islands Government do is they’re getting $19 million a year in royalties and we think they could be getting $27, $28-$30 million in royalties, so that’s additional money the government can earn and put back into schools, into health and into other government priorities.”

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