Mereseini Rakuita speaking at event
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Mereseini Rakuita, Principal Strategic Lead – Pacific Women at Pacific Community (SPC) speaks at the workshop
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The introduction of a first of its kind gender, human rights and social inclusion handbook for tuna industries in the Pacific will create a more healthy, sustainable, and people-centred tuna fishery according to Mereseini Rakuita, Principal Strategic Lead – Pacific Women at Pacific Community (SPC).

Speaking at the recent SPC Pacific Handbook on Gender, Social Inclusion and Human Rights in Tuna Industries workshop in Suva, Fiji, Ms Rakuita highlighted the need for the handbook and the often poor working conditions in the industry,  “limited career opportunities for women and men and the complexities of a multijurisdictional set of rules when operating in the vast ocean spaces have shown us that human rights abuses are more likely to happen if we do not take immediate action.” she said.

The two-day workshop garnered feedback on the handbook from a wide range of tuna industry players from across the region.

Workshop attendee Penny Matautia from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency said the handbook will support women in fisheries management and science.

This manual will contribute to achieving an inclusive, equitable and sustainable Pacific Islands tuna Fisheries sector where everyone shares fairly in its benefits,” she said.

Natalie Makhul co-author of the handbook and Gender and Human Rights Specialist for the Pacific-European Union (EU) Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme said, “the workshop created an engaging and inclusive space for a diverse audience from the Pacific tuna industry to ensure that the handbook captures their stories and represents their voices. The focus was on the direct engagement of target audiences in the handbook review process which allowed our future users to assess the practicality, usability and relevance of the handbook. We believe that this engaging journey with the people in the industry from consultation, to review and finalization of the handbook is key to a successful future uptake.”

Funded by the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme the handbook will be published later this year.

For more information, please contact David Wardell [email protected]




The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by Pacific countries. Among these are the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources; the threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters; the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training; and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and to promote greater recognition of gender issues to ensure inclusiveness and positive changes for Pacific island people. The five-year PEUMP programme is funded by the European Union (EUR 35 million) and the government of Sweden (EUR 10 million). It is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in close collaboration with Non-Government Organisations and the national authorities.


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