11 Jan 2016

Barring of US tuna fleet to affect Cooks' revenue

2:14 pm on 11 January 2016

The Cook Islands is set to lose millions of dollars in fisheries revenue following the barring of United States tuna vessels from much of the Pacific.

Earlier this month, the US fleet reneged on its treaty with the Forum Fisheries Agency, which declined to issue licences after the fleet failed to pay its US$17 million fee.

The US fleet insists it can't afford to pay for the number of fishing days it agreed to last year under the pay-by-day scheme, and wants a significant reduction.

The secretary of the Cook Islands ministry of natural resources, Ben Ponia, says the current impasse is concerning and is likely to impact the country's revenue.

The Cook Islands made US$5.03 million from the US fleet last year.

Mr Ponia says he will be part of a group of fisheries officials formed by the FFA to consider various options to resolve the impasse, and to advise Pacific ministers.