The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, has joined the growing chorus for regional solidarity for the effective management of tuna resources in the region.
Speaking at the Plenary of the 13th Ministerial Meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (F.F.A) being held in Port Vila, Vanuatu, La’auli said the region’s position can only be strengthened when they stand as one.
“Samoa supports and continues to advocate the importance of our working together as a region,” he said.
“Our staunch support is given unreservedly for regional solidarity. Time and time again, it has been proven that our limitations and capabilities can only be strengthened when we stand together as one.
“I will continue to advocate this including the need to coordinate our efforts for the effective management of our tuna resource. Our decisions must “Benefit all, represent all and more importantly, fair for all.”
As the new Minister of Fisheries, the former Speaker of Parliament said his goal is to develop the sector into a new level.
"I have recently assumed my role as the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries for Samoa. I have been entrusted to take the lead to develop, further improve and take the Agriculture and Fisheries sector to a whole new level.
“The amount of work and issues that we have dealt with and continue to deal with, clearly shows that fisheries and this particular sector is the backbone for the social well-being of our people and for our economic stability.”
Fisheries, he added, is vital to Samoa, especially to the livelihoods of people at the grass-root and community level.
“Tuna fisheries continues to be our leading export commodity despite the current challenges it faces. Our Government continues to find ways to ensure that support is given to our fisheries sector and any barriers can be minimised as much as possible.”
Noting the outcome of the U.S. Treaty on re-negotiations on 24 June 2016 (18th Renegotiations Session), La’auli thanked the F.F.A Secretariat and senior officials for the hard work and your efforts in securing a multi-year Agreement.
“Whilst the United States Government has yet to rescind its withdrawal, the hard work undertaken by the Secretariat resulting in a successful and amicable outcome of the Treaty is highly commended. A big faamalo (congratulations) for a job well done."