THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBER 2013, PACIFIC ISLANDS: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) said foreign fishing nations must financially compensate them for their work to manage sustainable tuna fisheries.
Member countries of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) are anticipating disputes at their annual meeting next week in Cairns, Australia, about how to reduce overfishing of bigeye tuna, a popular sashimi fish.
“The PNA is a global leader in tuna conservation and management but it has long been faced with what we call the conservation burden – we spend money and time on conserving tuna in our EEZs, then foreign fishing nations benefit from fishing the tuna stocks without control in the high seas, without sharing any of the burden of managing the resource,” explained Dr Transform Aqorau.
“We are calling for the foreign fishing nations to recognize this burden and financially compensate us, as is done under international agreements such as the Montreal Protocol, and is supposed to happen under the convention that established WCPFC.”
PNA has estimated that their three-month ban on the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) means they lose USD $60 million a year in fisheries revenue.
“The PNA will only impose a longer FAD ban if foreign fishing nations pay $15 million per month of FAD ban to us to financially compensate us for the conservation burden of this extra measure,” said Dr Transform Aqorau.
“We also want the longline fishing fleet to cut their fishing effort so that the cuts are spread more evenly among purse seine and longline fishing vessels. Under PNA management, purse seine fishing vessels have limits on days they can fish, a three-month FAD ban, 100% observer coverage and many other conservation measures. Meanwhile, the high seas longline fleet has very few restrictions, a situation that cannot continue.”
Disputes about how to reduce overfishing of bigeye tuna will be raised as the 32 countries and territories of the WCPFC meet to agree on a new conservation and management measure on tuna from 2-6 December in Cairns, Australia.