3 Mar 2016

US-FFA fish agreement reached

9:11 am on 3 March 2016
A net filled with skipjack tuna coming out of the hold of a purse seine fishing vessel anchored in the Marshall Islands as it off-loads the fish to a mothership for transfer to Asian canneries.

Fishermen on a purse seine vessel in the Pacific. Photo: AFP

The American Tunaboat Association has confirmed an agreement has been reached for US vessels to purchase treaty licenses from the Fisheries Forum Agency for the remainder of 2016.

Its Executive Director, Brian Hallman, says the agreement has been finalised, license fees have been transmitted from his Association to the FFA, and vessels will be able to begin fishing in the treaty area pursuant to the 2016 agreement.

Mr Hallman says the American Tunaboat Association is pleased with recent turn of events, and that the impasse is over.

He says his Association looks forward to participating in negotiations this year to re-structure the treaty, so that it can continue to be viable after 2016, and into the future.

The United States had pulled out of the US Pacific islands fisheries treaty in January.

The move was presaged in December when the US government and its tuna fishing industry asked the FFA to take back 2,000 fishing days that the American fleet had requested as part of an earlier package of over 6,000 vessel days for 2016.

In December, several US-flagged fishing companies said they could not or would not pay their portion of the US$17 million quarterly payment due January 1, 2016.