13 Jun 2014

PNA cranks up cost of Pacific fishing

6:36 pm on 13 June 2014

The eight nations that make up the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, which control the waters where over half of the world's skipjack tuna is caught, have agreed to raise the fees they charge purse seiner tuna boats by 33 percent.

After two days of meetings in the Marshall Islands, fisheries ministers from PNA nations agreed to raise the fishing day fee from 6000 to 8000 US dollars per boat from next year, in an attempt to raise over $370 million.

The ministers also issued a strongly-worded communiqué putting the US industry on notice that the $63 million it has agreed to pay annually to fish in the region wasn't enough.

The next negotiating session with the US is in Auckland in July, where the PNA will make their push for more money.

Our correspondent says the PNA wields strong leverage with the US fleet because the 40 US-flagged purse seiner vessels fish almost exclusively in waters controlled by the eight PNA nations.

The communiqué also criticised distant water fishing nations for their abuse of regional conservation agreements, saying distant nations are not sharing the burden of conservation equally with the small island states.

The PNA nations are Nauru, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Federated State of Micronesia.