31 Mar 2016

FFA says lots of work needed to change fisheries scheme

11:44 am on 31 March 2016

The Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency says a lot of work needs to be done to change the region's fisheries scheme as called for by US tuna boat owners.

Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency, James Movick.

Director General of the Forum Fisheries Agency, James Movick. Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

US tuna boat owners have criticised the policy of the parties to the US South Pacific Tuna Treaty to charge for fishing days rather than the amount of fish caught under the treaty.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement came up with the vessel day scheme promoting it as a more equitable way for the islands to be paid for their resource.

But the American Tunaboat Association say the island countries are being unreasonable and charging exorbitant prices for the vessel day scheme which result in losses for operators.

James Movick from the FFA said pacific countries may be transitioning away from the vessel day scheme and Island Parties may move towards something more catch-based, but the transition will take time as it is complex.

"If you do it by catch, you then got to be able to quantify the fish that he actually catches. Do you have all of the management systems in place to do that? It is not only a matter of accurately weighing the fish caught. Remember these might be transhipped at sea, they may be delivered directly to Ecuador or American Samoa at the canneries etcetera."