8 Jan 2016

Fishing treaty with US labelled obsolete

12:51 pm on 8 January 2016
bonito / skipjack tuna - file photo

Photo: 123RF

The owners of American Samoa's second largest cannery say the treaty which allows US fishing boats to fish in waters of Pacific island countries is obsolete and needs to be revamped.

Last week, the US fishing fleet reneged on its treaty with the Forum Fisheries Agency, which declined to issue licences as the US failed to pay its 17 million US dollar fee.

Tri Marine International says the treaty in its current form fails to retain the most value for the resource owners because the Vessel Day Scheme places value on fishing days alone, rather than the tuna itself.

According to Tri Marine, calculating value based on fishing days is a shortsighted economic equation that doesn't represent the long-term best interests of island communities.

The company says it is focused in good faith on helping to fix a broken system involving 17 different Pacific island parties with the objective of providing long-term benefits to the region, while protecting the sustainability of the resource.

American Samoa tuna processing plant

American Samoa tuna processing plant Photo: RNZI Monica Miller