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PNA To NZ, US Tuna Industry: If You Don’t Want To Play By The Rules, Fish Elsewhere

The chief executive of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) has hit back at criticism from New Zealand and United States fishing industry interests of the organization’s tuna management
24 Mar 2015 11:15
PNA To NZ, US Tuna Industry: If You Don’t Want To Play By The Rules, Fish Elsewhere
PNA map

The chief executive of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) has hit back at criticism from New Zealand and United States fishing industry interests of the organization’s tuna management system.

He said these are attempts to bully small island countries that are successfully conserving fisheries resources while increasing economic benefits for themselves.

Speaking in Auckland where Pacific Island Countries have been meeting with the United States on access for U.S. tuna fishing vessels, PNA CEO Dr Transform Aqorau rejected criticism of PNA’s Vessel Days Scheme (VDS) by New Zealand and US industry interests.

The VDS governs purse seine fishing in the eight PNA members’ waters, limiting the number of fishing days that can be sold each year and setting a minimum price that is currently US$8,000 per fishing day.

PNA also enforces a range of conservation measures.

“Under the VDS, purse seine fishing in our waters has been tightly controlled, with satellite tracking and observers on board every vessel,” Dr Aqorau said. “As a result, there has been no significant increase in catches in our waters in recent years, our stocks are abundant, and access to our waters is valuable.”

 

Double catches

In contrast to the PNA area, said Dr Aqorau, “catches in the region outside our waters have nearly doubled in the same time, over-supplying the global market. This is a result of reckless expansion of fishing outside our waters by the tuna industry trying to evade the tight controls in our waters and our fees.”

PNA waters supply over 50 percent of the world’s skipjack tuna.

Dr Aqorau also objected to the pressure being put on PNA member countries to extend the current concessionary arrangements for U.S.vessels fishing in their waters.

He asked how New Zealand farmers would react if they were pressured to reject Chinese investment in the dairy industry, and pressured to sell dairy products to the U.S. instead of China for political reasons.

“PNA members seeking to secure economic returns for their people for their fish are being pressured in that way just because they are small,” said Dr Aqorau.

“If the U.S. can’t afford to fish in our waters, won’t invest with us, and doesn’t like the tight controls in our waters, they should go back to fishing in the Eastern Pacific where they originally came from,” said Dr Aqorau.

 




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