Outcomes from PNA meeting this week

BIKENIBEU, TARAWA, KIRIBATI, THURSDAY 22 OCTOBER 2009: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), met this week and agreed to actions to advance their interests in securing greater economic benefits from the tuna resources and co-ordinate and harmonise the management of common fish stocks for the benefit of their peoples.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu and often are referred to as the PNA. Their 3rd Implementing Arrangement, adopted in 2008, follows a tradition of innovation by PNA leaders in developing new initiatives to manage tuna resources in the region. Many of the measures of the PNA were also adopted at the last meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission such as the high seas pockets closure, controls on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and the coverage of purse seine fishing vessels with observers.

Outcomes from the PNA Officials and Ministerial meeting this week include:

ESTABLISHMENT OF A PNA OFFICE: Ministers agreed to the establishment of the PNA Office in the Marshall Islands from 1 January 2010. Functions of the office, (as stated in the Bikenibeu Declaration to be released shortly) are:
•    Develop strategic fisheries conservation and management initiatives for the Parties.
•    Develop initiatives to maximise the sustained direct and indirect economic benefits to the Parties.
•    Maximise profitability of the fishery and ancillary industries within the PNA.
•    Promote the meaningful participation and benefits for the peoples for the future generations.
•    Serve the commercial needs and aspirations of the Parties.
•    Develop measures for PNA waters to be globally recognised as a sustainably managed and certified tuna fishery.

CLOSURE OF HIGH SEAS: Ministers noted the serious impact on the Bigeye Tuna stock from fishing by distant water longliners and purse seiners in the high seas and that the high seas continues to provide a safe haven for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The Ministers agreed that further work will be taken on closures of additional high seas areas.

VESSEL DAY SCHEME FOR LONGLINE FISHING VESSELS: The PNA currently has a vessel day scheme for purse seine fishing vessels whereby permission to fish for a certain number of days is sold and traded to fishing vessel operators. The PNA is looking at developing a vessel day scheme to apply to longline fishing vessels by the end of 2010.

OTHER MEANS TO MAXIMISE ECONOMIC BENEFITS: The PNA is also examining new initiatives to generate increased benefits for their domestic economies from the region’s tuna fisheries reflecting the importance of catches in their waters for global tuna supply. These include amongst others, refuelling in port, unloading catches in PNA ports and requiring vessels to have PNA crew.