Tuna purse seine. (Photo Credit: NOAA)
Pacific Islands and US settle tuna deal
Thursday, October 09, 2014, 03:30 (GMT + 9)
After a three-day negotiation session, the governments of the 17 members of the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the United States have settled a tuna deal in Pacific waters for 2015.
This treaty settled this week in Honolulu, Hawaii, provides for US flagged purse seine vessels to fish 8,300 days in the region in return for a payment of USD 90 million made up by industry and US-Government contributions, FFA Media informed.
“We have been renegotiating this Treaty since 2009, when its total value was in the order of USD 21 million,” FFA Director-General, James Movick pointed out.
“During that time, the Pacific Island Parties were able to secure an increase to USD 42 million in 2011, and then again to USD 63 million in 2012. The package that has now been agreed substantially builds on that, and reflects very well the outstanding progress made by the Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) in building the value of their purse seine fisheries,” the director added.
PNA includes the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
The Director General especially recognised “the high degree of commitment and cooperation of the national participants in the negotiating process, supported by the very hard work and excellence of advice provided by FFA Deputy Director-General Wez Norris, the technical team from FFA secretariat, and the PNA Office."
Movick highlighted the region's negotiating success was due to the collective bargaining and to the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS), introduced by the eight Pacific nations that are parties to the PNA.
Besides, the director stressed the seriousness with which the Pacific countries take both conservation and the economic maximisation of their tuna resource, ABC News reported.
Since scientists claim that bigeye tuna stocks are now down to 16 per cent of their original numbers, Pacific countries that are FFA members – including Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu -- are due to meet with the distant water fishing nations in December to agree on a long-awaited new conservation measure.
According to scientists, as tuna stocks in the rest of the world dwindle, the Pacific has become the global epicentre for the industry.
More than 60 per cent of the world's tuna is caught in the Pacific by vessels from powerful distant water fishing nations such as China, Japan, Taiwan South Korea, Spain and more from North and South America.
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA/NMFS