Majuro, Marshall Islands – The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Leaders met last week in Majuro for the Pacific Island Forum Leaders meetings and got a breifing on the PNA’s work to manage the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery.
Issues discussed by PNA Leaders include:
MORE ECONOMIC BENEFITS FOR PACIFIC ISLANDERS FROM TUNA FISHING
Leaders were briefed on the economic gains made from controlling tuna supply, by better conservation and management of fishing through cooperation between the PNA countries.
In 2010, the amount of tuna caught was valued at USD 1.9 billion, with only USD 60 million of that going to PNA nations. By 2012, the overall value increased to over USD 3 billion, with revenue to PNA countries more than tripling to USD 229 million. The increase in the value of the fishery and PNA’s share is entirely related to the fisheries management and business initiatives enforced by the eight nations since 2010. These include a hard limit on number of fishing days sold which increases the value of fishing days, as well as the current benchmark price of USD 5,000 per day.
The PNA Vessel Day Scheme, which sets a total number of fishing days across the PNA region and allows these to be brought and traded has radically, changed the balance of power between Pacific Island and foreign fishing nations.
Instead of foreign fishing nations paying small fees for licences, the Vessel Day Scheme has increased revenue for fishing tuna as well as encouraged foreign fishing nations to invest in processing facilities, employment for Pacific Islanders in the industry and other arrangements that create jobs and local economic growth in PNA countries.
Leaders discussed the issue of allocation of purse seine fishing days under what is to be a new US Treaty currently being negotiated. There is a need for compromise to be made to make progress on the new arrangement in particular the allocation of days to the Treaty
NEW LONGLINE VESSEL DAY SCHEME
Leaders were invited to sign the PNA Longline Vessel Day Scheme. Under the scheme, access to PNA waters will be controlled and sold for longline fishing vessels (boats which use a string of long lines with baited hooks to catch fish most commonly sold for sashimi and as fresh fish). When operational, the estimated value of the PNA Longline Vessel Day Scheme is $65 million.
Leaders expressed their appreciation to the PNA Office for its work, increase in revenue and focus of the Office on generating its own revenue rather than relying on aid and donations.