Majuro, Marshall Islands 15 April 2016: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement have named a new Chief Executive Officer who will take over from outgoing CEO Dr. Transform Aqorau.

   Ludwig Kumoru, Deputy Managing Director of Papua New Guinea’s National Fisheries Authority, is expected to take over as PNA CEO from 1 August 2016. He was endorsed for the post by unanimous consent of the eight countries that are PNA members at the annual meeting last week in Kiribati after he was ranked as the top choice for the position by an independent search panel.

   Mr. Kumoru said he was happy about being selected by PNA members and is looking forward to the many challenges presented by leading this bloc of nations that control waters where 50 percent of the global supply of skipjack tuna is caught.

   “I am pleased to be leaving the office in capable hands,” said Dr. Aqorau following the decision by PNA members to hire Mr. Kumoru. “He brings skills of working with fishing states from a national perspective and has a good understanding of the Pacific tuna fishery. He is highly regarded and respected by his peers in PNA.”

   In addition to his tenure as deputy managing director of PNG’s National Fisheries Authority, Mr. Kumoru is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s Scientific Committee that reviews tuna stock assessments and issues recommendations regarding sustainability of the resource.

   Mr. Kumoru said PNA has many opportunities for expanding initiatives to the benefit of the islands. Going forward, the “challenge is to come up with ideas to add more value to the PNA fishery,” Mr. Kumoru said. “Parties need to cooperate more closely, especially in terms of developing their domestic industries. What are things they can do to add value to each others industry?”

   PNA management measures create business and development opportunities, he said. These include the higher price and scarcity of fishing days prompting distant water fishing vessels to flag domestically with PNA nations, and managing and charging for Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that is a new revenue source as well as a conservation initiative. “Other opportunities are in crewing, observers placements, and provision of supplies,” said Mr. Kumoru.

   Dr. Aqorau said Mr. Kumoru will hit the ground running when he takes over because he “was involved in developing the PNA Office well before the office was established in 2010. He’s been involved in the initiatives that we’ve developed.” Dr. Aqorau made the point that Mr. Kumoru has significant experience in the fishery, having been on fishing vessels and participated in tuna tagging programs. “He has hands-on fisheries management experience in addition to his experience as deputy managing director of the largest fisheries department in the region,” said Dr. Aqorau.

   Dr. Aqorau was warmly recognized for his more than six years as chief executive by the eight PNA member nations at the annual meeting in Kiribati. A resolution adopted unanimously said Dr. Aqorau was responsible for implementing policies and strategies that developed the PNA Office into “an institution that served as the business arm” of the PNA establishing “effective control of valuable fishery resources through implementation of numerous measures and controls including the Vessel Day Scheme.” PNA members said the VDS “constitutes best practice on fishery management and development in the Pacific region and across the globe, which was achieved through the strategic cooperation among VDS members and participants.”

   Dr. Aqorau said he is “really proud” of what PNA has accomplished since 2010. “We’ve had phenomenal success from this small office,” he said. “There is great satisfaction in proving wrong detractors who said small island countries couldn’t do something on our own and sustain it from our own commercial initiatives.”

   Dr. Aqorau will continue in the CEO post at the Majuro-based PNA Office until later this year when Mr. Kumoru takes over. “I will stay on for a transition period, and then anticipate continuing to assist PNA in a technical supporting role,” said Dr. Aqorau.