New PNA head keen on Majuro move

12:14 pm on 26 November 2020

The new head of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement is to relocate to the Marshall Islands as part of her role.

tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel

tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel Photo: Giff Johnson

For years Dr Sangaalofa Clark based herself in New Zealand as she undertook her work for the Majuro-based PNA.

The PNA's role, with its nine member nations, is to manage tuna stocks for a large part of the Pacific.

Clark, who has been at the PNA since it started in 2010, was named last week to take over from Ludwig Kumoru as chief executive.

She said in her role as a policy manager she was required to undertake a lot of travel, so it made sense to stay in Christchurch with her husband, who's a New Zealander, as it was often easier to fly out of there than the Marshalls.

The incoming CEO of the PNA Dr Sangaalofa Clark

The incoming CEO of the PNA Dr Sangaalofa Clark Photo: facebook

But Clark said she was now keen to get to Majuro.

"That is one of the things that I had to consider quite carefully. you know, I had to make a commitment and I was very committed to do the work. I thought I could do a good job and I am very committed.

"So part of that we'll be moving to Majuro and I am really looking to moving there."

Clark said Covid-19 and climate change posed the two biggest challenges for the agency.

She said climate change means tuna may seek out cooler waters, reducing the population in PNA areas.

Meanwhile Clark said Covid-19 has had a mixed effect on the tuna market.

"Although we have seen the demand for tuna canning remain high, because people tend to buy canned tuna during crises, so it's creating some short term opportunities," she said

"And on the other hand demand for high value tuna, like sashimi, those have been really hit because they are dependent on restaurants and airfreight."