Women in Fisheries

Transformative leadership: Women shaping the heart of Pacific tuna fisheries

This is the story of four extraordinary women, each a titan in their own right, steering the course of Pacific tuna fisheries with a remarkable blend of passion, skill, and solid determination.

Josie Tamate, a distinguished Niuean civil servant and the Chair of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), stands as a guiding force of leadership. Her journey, rooted in dedication, saw her appointed as the first Polynesian to helm the WCPFC, the governing body for the world's largest tuna fishery. With a friendly face and a jovial smile, Josie brings warmth to her role, exemplifying the spirit of her island home.

Manumatavai Tupou-Roosen, the Director General of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, adds a layer of elegance and intellect to this impressive alliance. As the first woman to hold this pivotal role, Manumatavai's journey began with academic brilliance, earning degrees in Law from the University of Auckland and the University of Canterbury. Her story intertwines with a Commonwealth Scholarship and a commitment to fisheries stewardship, establishing her as a trailblazer.

Pamela Maru, a distinguished public servant and fisheries management adviser from the Cook Islands, brings forth a forceful determination to the quartet. From her roots as a Cook Islands Fisheries Officer to leading the charge against illegal fishing through port inspections, Pamela incarnates tenacity and a fierce islander heart. Her role as Vice-Chair of the WCPFC Scientific Committee from 2009 to 2011, and currently as Cook Islands Secretary of Marine Resources, underscores her leadership in fisheries management.

Rhea Moss-Christian, the executive director of the WCPFC, rounds out this formidable foursome. A pioneer in her own right, Rhea holds the distinction of being the first woman in the world to lead the governance of the largest tuna fishery. Her expertise extends beyond fisheries, having chaired the Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission and advised the Marshall Islands Government on oceans and trade.

Yet, what sets these remarkable women apart is not just their connection, but the extraordinary skills, dedication, and commitment that define their collective journey. Cultivated in the bustling meetings of the Fisheries Forum Agency in Honiara, this bond goes beyond professional responsibility. It speaks to their shared passion and solid loyalty to a cause that transcends their roles.In the Pacific, where the ocean is engraved into the very blood of its people, these women stand as guardians. Their nights and days are dedicated to a treasure close to their hearts—the precious tuna. More than a source of revenue, tuna is their link to their ancestors and culture, a presence felt in every ripple of the sea, inside their offices, and in the embrace of their shared island heritage.

This is how women in the Pacific safeguard their heritage, managing the world's largest ocean with care and dedication, preserving it rather than exploiting it. A testament to the formidable impact that women can have in preserving a legacy that echoes not only in their achievements but in the inspiration they sow for future generations.

Page Updated 21 Dec, 2023
© Copyright 2024 Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, All rights reserved. Hosted & Developed by Eighty Options ▲ Back to Top