4 Dec 2017

High stakes for upcoming Pacific tuna commission summit

1:57 pm on 4 December 2017

The future of tuna fisheries management in the region could be at stake this week as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meets in the Philippines.

no caption

Photo: Supplied/WWF

Distant water fishing nations are expected to push for a change to the zone management system employed by members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, whose combined exclusive economic zones account for 85 percent of the tuna caught in the region.

Central to this is system is the Vessel Day Scheme where each member country is given a set number of fishing days per year which it can then sell to interested fishing nations.

The PNA's chief executive Ludwig Kumoru said fishing nations wanted to lock in the number of days Pacific countries gave them each year and they claimed it was their right to do so.

But Mr Kumoru said this was ridiculous given they were fishing on the invitation of the Pacific countries.

He said it would undermine the entire purpose of the scheme which was to give Pacific island countries more say in managing their own resources.

"They just want to take the control to themselves. They are taking us 30 years back. That is how the PNA leaders saw it. That is why they set up the PNA as an organisation to be able to have a say in their waters. To be able to control their own destiny in our region."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs