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Working smarter for our tuna

State of Tuna Report 2015 – Special Feature

EXPECT the Pacific’s work on managing its lucrative tuna resource to get better and smarter as the region comes under increasing pressure from foreign multinationals with the backing of their equally powerful governments.

Strong decisions and new initiatives were announced over the past months by the two leading fisheries organisations in the Pacific; the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) based in Honiara, Solomon Islands, and the very influential Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) which is headquartered in Majuro in the Marshall Islands.

All eight members of the PNA – Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu – are also members of the FFA, but are considered very influential as most of the Pacific’s tuna stocks are found in their waters.

Frustrated by the inability of the United Nations’ body, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, to control fishing in the high seas, which are bodies of international waters found in between their national waters, the PNA decided in their June meeting in Micronesia to enforce its own controls on fishing boats that want to fish for tuna in their waters and buy fishing days in their trail blazing Vessel Day Scheme.

Total allowed effort of fishing days for 2016 will be reduced by over 700 days to 45,881, and a fee of US$1000 per VDS day will be imposed for the use of FADs (Fish Aggregate Devices). In addition, longliners will be for the first time brought into the VDS in an attempt to assert some control in what officials say has been an out of control industry.

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