8 Feb 2010

Heads of state to meet over push for OPEC style organisation for Pacific tuna

6:23 am on 8 February 2010

Pacific island heads of state will meet in Palau at the end of this month to map a new strategy that aims to develop an OPEC-style organization to control the tuna industry.

Tuna generates 4 billion US dollars annually but is under threat from over-fishing.

An official with Palau's Bureau of Marine Resources, Nannette Malsol, says Parties to the Nauru Agreement, PNA, must strive to get more value from their tuna resources.

The summit will bring together presidents and prime ministers from the eight nations that control the area of ocean where the majority of the tuna is caught in the Pacific.

The PNA's first headquarters was established in Majuro in the Marshall Islands last week.

Nannette Malsol says the Presidential Summit in Palau is designed to set in place a road map for the newly established PNA office.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement include Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu and Marshall Islands.

Although fisheries ministers representing Forum Fisheries Agency member nations meet annually, there has never been a presidential summit on what is unarguably the Pacific's most important natural resource: tuna.