Monday, November 29, 2010

Pacific group seeks 30% cut in tuna catch

A GROUP of Pacific fishing nations, including Papua New Guinea, has called for a near-30% cut in next year’s tuna catch as concern about over-fishing increases, The National reports.

The eight members of the parties to the Nauru agreement (PNA) group control waters where a quarter of the world’s tuna is caught, Radio Australia reported at the weekend.

At a meeting in Majuro, in the Marshall Islands, last week they agreed to cut licensed fishing days from 40,000 to 28,469 next year.

The PNA nations operate a system known as the “vessel day scheme”, selling “fishing days” instead of licensing a set number of vessels to fish in the region.

But during the three years the scheme had been in place, the Pacific nations have had difficulty enforcing it, reducing its effectiveness for conservation.

The PNA is a sub-regional agreement on terms and conditions for tuna purse seine fishing licences in the region.

Apart from PNG, the other parties are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

These countries own waters which supply 25% of the world’s tuna, an estimated US$2 billion worth of fish every year.

PNA fisheries policy makers met to discuss how to skyrocket fishing revenue by establishing connections with industry so the islands could become involved in all aspects of the tuna business – to compete on the same level as industry-leading Thai canneries and tuna suppliers, Ansform Aqorau, director of the PNA office in Majuro, Transform Aqorau, said.

He added that island nations must integrate boats with processing facilities and marketing into Europe and North America, PacNews reported.

“PNA is looking for long-term linkages with processing plants,” he said.

Aquorau said it would be necessary for the Pacific Islands to compete with Thai tuna products.

“The islands have set hard limits but have had difficulty in actually doing it,” Phil Roberts of Tri-Marine International, one of the world’s largest suppliers of tuna, who attended the talks in Majuro, said.

He told AFP: “The proposal to cut to 28,000 fishing days in 2011 means they will have to cut back a lot of boats.

“If they don’t, they will never get fishing under control.”



No comments:

Post a Comment