6 Dec 2011

Pacific pushes for better deal on Us fisheries treaty

2:36 pm on 6 December 2011

Pacific island countries are continuing to push for a better deal in their negotiations with the United States government over access for American boats to their tuna-rich fishing grounds.

At last week's negotiating session in Fiji on the US Pacific fisheries treaty that expires next year, a US official told island fisheries leaders that their demands for higher fees are extremely disappointing and threaten the future of the 25-year-old treaty.

But island officials say if the US wants premium access it must pay for it.

Since the late 1980s, the treaty has allowed up to 42 US flagged purse seiners access to the exclusive economic zones of all islands in the Pacific.

The US is pushing for at least 9,000 fishing days per year and has offered to pay five thousand dollars a day, but the island countries are offering only 7,000 fishing days at a price of ten thousand dollars, along with the US government's aid component included in the treaty.