Knowledge Has No Boundary
Half a world away from Alaska's frigid Bering Sea coast, the scattered archipelagos rising from the infinite blue of the Pacific are the world's smallest nations. But they may be better thought of as the "big ocean states" that control the majority of one of the planet's most valuable fisheries: tuna.
From ordinary tuna sandwiches to yellowfin sashimi, tuna is a seafood mainstay across the world. Until recently, the island nations that control the fishery in their own waters hadn't enforced their control over how the tuna harvest was managed—or even fully asserted their considerable economic stake in what adds up to a $6 billion industry.
As fresh hopes for a sustainable future arise, this is changing. On a recent exchange hosted by The Nature Conservancy in Alaska, fishery leaders from Pacific Island nations began a meaningful dialogue with successful indigenous leaders in the fisheries industry from the Bering Sea coast.
The Conservancy's unique global reach fosters long-term relationships that span the Pacific.
Says Ludwig Kumoru, who leads a group of eight Pacific Island nations that collectively manage almost half of the planet's tuna harvest: "I don't like to hear from people who think they know how it should be done. I like to hear from peoples' experiences. They know what they're talking about. Working together, we can learn something faster. For us, it's really about empowering our own people."