Tuvalu celebrates World Tuna Day 2019

WTD 2019 Photo taken by Matelina STuvalu has successfully celebrated World Tuna Day this year for the first time. 2nd May has been celebrated in some countries since 2012 and was recognized internationally in 2016 by the United Nations.

The Fisheries Department organized a range of activities for the public to mark this important event, which included: a Futsal tournament; a raw tuna dish competition; a fishing contest; boat racing; competitions in speeches, drawing, poems and essay writing on the subject of tuna; and a song competition.

These awareness activities were coordinated by the TFD in order for the public to engage and to recognize the importance of Tuna to our lives individually, to our families, our communities, our islands and especially to our country as a whole.

The programme for the world tuna day started on Monday the 29th April and ended on the 2nd of May – which is the day itself.

The Futsal tournament was the first activity that started the event. There were mixed teams from each of the eight islands competing, with the young boys and girls playing for their islands.

On Tuesday the 30th  April was the fishing competition. The prize for the biggest tuna was won with a yellowfin tuna of 65 kgs. The prize for the most fish was won with a catch of 14 skipjack tuna.

The judges had a hard time deciding on the winners of the raw tuna dish competition, that same afternoon, due to the very high quality of the food prepared. Second prize was shared between three competitors.

On Wednesday the 1st of May was the speech competition with speeches in Tuvaluan by Form 5 and Form 6 and English language speeches by Form 7 and USP Foundation students. The boat racing that afternoon drew a large crowd to the main wharf.

The programme highlight was on World Tuna Day itself: Thursday 2nd of May. Winners who competed in all the activities were awarded their prizes that day. The song contest was the final activity and this event entertained invited guests with original songs about tuna. The program of the World Tuna Day event ended at 2 pm with entertainment from dancing groups from Motufoua secondary school and Fetuvalu High school, as well as the Underkavas live band.

The Director of Fisheries, Mr Samasoni Finikaso, who was master of ceremonies on the 2nd, revealed plans to celebrate world tuna day every year, with an urgent need to extend the programme to the outer islands once there is enough support. Minister for Education and Sport, Hon. Fauoa Maani, representing the Government, noted the importance of tuna for Tuvalu. He thanked the sponsors of a number of prizes and acknowledged the hard work of the staff of TFD and the Ministry in putting together a successful program.

The Table below shows winners, second and third places for those who competed in all the World Tuna Day activities.

Winners, 2nd & 3rd places of World Tuna Day Activities
Futsal Tournament Competition Name(s)
1st Prize Tofaga (Vaitupu) Football Club
2nd Prize Manu Laeva (Nukulaelae) Football Club
3rd Prize Tamanuku (Nukufetau) Football Club
Best Player Male Ameti Seneta from Manu Laeva FC
Best Player Female Salilo Petaia from Tamanuku FC
Top Scorer Ameti Seneta again from Manu Laeva FC
Raw Tuna Dish Competition (General)
1st Prize Frank Likaveke
2nd Prize Temukisa Hauma
2nd Prize Miriama Taukiei
2nd Prize Fuaitai Isala
3rd Prize Taupule Leopald
Fishing Competition (General)
Winner/amount (catches) in Kilograms Faatasi (Niulakita)
Winner/Most amount of Fishes (pieces) Uatioa (Muliava)
Winner / the biggest fish Faatasi ( Niulakita)
Boat Racing (General)
1st Prize(speed 3min & 13 seconds) Fiamalu Manatu
2nd Prize (speed 3min & 21 sec’s) Lopati Iakopo
3rd Prize (speed 3min & 23 sec’s) Tianamo Lusia
Speech Competition – Tuvaluan
1st Prize Lupesa Nai – Motufoua Fm 6
2nd Prize Roling Pugameau – Fetuvalu Fm 5
3rd Prize Velma O’Brien – Fetuvalu Fm 6
Speech Competition – English
1st Prize Fagasele Kiatoa – USP Foundation
2nd Prize Susi Motufoua – Motufoua Fm 7
3rd Prize Lilipeti Suiti – USP Foundation
Drawings (Year 1 & 2) category
1st Prize Makitou Tehoa
2nd Prize Lanyretta Iese
3rd Prize Akesa Falepou
Poems (Year 3 & 4)
1st Prize Winisa Tulimanu from Nauti Primary Sch.
2nd Prize Nua Kaualiki from Nauti Primary Sch. (NPS)
3rd Prize Iafeta Ioane Halo from SDA Primary Sch.
Poems (Year 7 & 8)
1st Prize Anisha Katoa from SDA Primary Sch.
2nd Prize Shaniece Kenieti from Nauti Primary Sch.
3rd Prize Serina Fepuali from Nauti Primary Sch.
Essay Writing (Year 5 & 6)
1st Prize Halofaki Uhila from SDA Primary Sch.
2nd Prize Tega Leupena from Nauti Primary Sch.
3rd Prize Esekia Tehoa from Nauti Primary Sch.
Essay Writing (Form 3 & 4’s)
1st Prize Esther Eterina Maheu from Fetuvalu High Sch. (FSS)
2nd Prize Nuanua Nikolasi from NPS
3rd Prize Eseki Raymond Tasitusi from FSS
Song Competition ( General)
1st Prize Tapuleoti. Lisale
2nd Prize Fagogo Malipolipo
3rd Prize Fomalive (Group)