12 Feb 2016

FFA says new offer on tuna comes at cost

3:11 pm on 12 February 2016

A new offer from the Pacific to the United States on tuna fishing will still leave the region out of pocket, the head of the Forum Fisheries Agency says.

bonito / skipjack tuna - file photo

Photo: 123RF

The FFA member states met in Nadi this week with a focus on trying to conclude a deal with the US and mitigate the financial impacts of the US backing out of the Tuna Treaty.

The US pulled out last month saying it could not meet the financial commitment in the deal and wanted to cut the number of fishing days it had originally agreed to buy.

The US's reneging had cost the Pacific more than $US68 million.

FFA director general James Movick said they had now agreed to meet these reduced terms, and hoped the US boats would be back on the water soon.

He said the modified deal was achieved under some duress.

"Obviously the economic situation has changed. We are dealing with a shortened year, during which we are selling those licences to others, so we are not going to recoup the full amount that we had expected and we had negotiated with the US last year. If we had had the time last year to negotiate with those other parties, we would likely - we would not have been facing this situation of loss."

James Movick said they had a deal they hoped the US would still accept.

"We have agreed. We looked at the US request and we agreed to offer to take back a number of days from the United States, from the Treaty which we hope will be sufficient to enable them to proceed, given what they say is their economic situation."

Mr Movick said once the FFA had a deal in place for 2016 it would be looking for a multi year arrangement with the US as it had in the past.

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