Outcomes from Pacific Island Parties – US Consultation
ALOFI, NIUE, 12-18 MARCH 2010: Niue hosted the Special Pacific Islands Parties Internal Meeting on 13-18 March and the Annual Consultation with the U.S. regarding the implementation of the Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries Between Certain Governments of the Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States of America (commonly referred to as the "U.S. Treaty") from 17-18 March 2010.
Observer Programme Budget: agreement on the proposed budget for 20% observer coverage by the FFA Regional Observer Programme for the 23rd licensing period (15 June 2010 – 14 June 2011). A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be developed relating to the possible use of Pacific Island Parties national observer programmes to assist the U.S. in meeting their obligation under the WCPFC for an additional 80% coverage for the U.S. purse seine fleet. The MOU is to include a package of all costs of observer programme support and infrastructure, including the provision of assistance to Pacific Island Parties national observer programmes.
Vessel Day Scheme (VDS): agreement for PNA to convene an Application of the VDS to the US Treaty Workshop. The date for this meeting is still to be confirmed, but is expected to be in the first half of 2010.
Broader Cooperation Issues: agreement that the U.S. will make available a U.S. trade/market expert to make a presentation to the Pacific Island Parties on trade and market matters in late July 2010.
The U.S. Treaty first started in 1987 and it has been renewed on two occasions, with the last renewal in 2003 and to run for 10 years until 2013. The U.S. Treaty enables U.S. purse seine fishing vessels to fish in the EEZs of the 16 Pacific Island Parties which are: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The Financial Arrangements under the current Treaty arrangements are due to expire in June 2013. The Pacific Island Parties and the U.S. have also agreed that they continue the renegotiation based on a timetable with an aimed completion of the renegotiation by March 2012, one year before the actual expiry of the current Treaty arrangement. The next annual consultation will be held in Majuro, Marshall Islands, 2011.
Hon. Mr. Pokotoa Sipeli, Acting Premier of Niue & Minister of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, when opening the meeting, said: “The Treaty is a very special and historical arrangement between one of the world’s largest super powers and fishing States, and some of the smallest developing nations in the world. In our view it has not only provided direct monetary benefits shared across all the Pacific Island Parties, but it has played an important role in solidifying the foundation of regional cooperation and solidarity amongst the Pacific Islands in respect of the work of FFA and the conservation and management of the regions highly migratory fish stocks.
“This is in addition to the strong, enduring and good relationship created between the United States of America and the Pacific islands. In this regard it is Niue’s hope that, despite some of the challenges that exist at present in considering the renegotiation of the Treaty, that the opportunity to strengthen and continue the long standing relationship for the benefit of all will be taken.”