19 Dec 2011

Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority welcomes green light for PNA plan

10:44 pm on 19 December 2011

The director of the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority has welcomed a London based adjudicator's ruling to allow a plan by a cartel of small island nations to enforce new standards controlling the lucrative purse seiner fishing industry in the Pacific.

The independent adjudicator, Melanie Carter, dismissed objections by some tuna industry players to the plan to allow the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, or PNA, to provide financial incentives for fishing nations to sustainably harvest skipjack tuna.

Glen Joseph says for the PNA, it is a small victory, but much more needs to be done.

The PNA plans to market "free-school" catches of skipjack tuna at a premium price to European and American wholesalers and retailers.

"This is [the] first of the most important step that the PNA has taken in terms of putting its foot down and managing its own fishery. Of course we expect a lot of opposition and perhaps critics, but again the question we always ask ourselves is what's wrong with these small island states trying to manage their fisheries, sustainably and deriving economic benefits from it?"

Glen Joseph says the certification of free-school catches of skipjack tuna by purse seiners is the first of its kind.