The Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) chose May 2, United Nations World Tuna Day, for the introduction of its new polymer $5 legal tender note. It is money with a clear message.
The choice of the introductory date becomes obvious with a look at the bill’s design. The face features a yellowfin tuna, and in a nod to the importance of sustainability, a old-time fishing hook. The back has a traditional native spearfishing scene that the bank says “highlights the need to preserve and promote community activity as we move into the future.”
"This design underscores our vision for a strong sense of community and social cohesion, which is vital to our nation’s future. In addition, the durable and recyclable characteristics of the polymer also fits with our vision for a sustainable and responsible fishing industry," Deputy Bank Governor Luke Forau said during the launch of the new $5 bill.
"The design elements may be small but we hope that each time a person looks at the note s/he is reminded of the contributions of the tuna industry to this nation and the potentials that we can get from this industry going forward."
The bank added that the theme is meant to focus on creating a sustainable and responsible fishing industry that will create long-lasting economic security, and stress the importance of community and social cohesion.
The bank also addressed the rationale behind its conversion from cotton-based paper to polymer. Its research showed that the plastic material will last three to five times longer because of its higher resistance to dirt and moisture.
The Solomon Islands has an overly cash-based economy and the cost of replacing paper notes has been escalating. In 2015 note replacement cost around $10 million, but last year it more than doubled to $20.9 million.