TUNA: Pacific Island countries who are parties to the Nauru Agreement want to close a large area of the Pacific ocean to fishing fleets using nets to catch tuna. The Ministers from eight Pacific countries have been meeting in the Marshall Islands. They say they're following scientific advice that the Pacific's tuna resources need greater protection. The plan is to agree to implement the closure from January 2011.
DOLLARS: “It’s not going to be easy (to get acceptance of the closure),” said Sylvester Pokajam, managing director of Papua New Guinea’s National Fisheries Authority. “But it will have a great impact on bigeye tuna that is being overfished.” “This will require a big adjustment for purse seine vessels,” said Anouk Ride, the Forum Fisheries Agency’s media official. “The high seas closure will help control (tuna catches).” Palau’s Marine Resources Director Nanette Malsol said she believes the closure will help in the fight against illegal fishing. “There is a lot of illegal and unregulated fishing in high seas areas,” she said. “Countries bordering these areas are struggling with it.”
CLOSED: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) includes Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu - collectively these countries are the owners of 25% of the world's tuna supply. Today the PNA announced that from 1 January 2011 high seas surrounding these countries will be closed to purse seine fishing vessels licenced to fish in their waters.This closed high seas area: * Stretches from Palau and Papua New Guinea in the West to Kiribati in the East, Marshall Islands in the North to Tuvalu in the South * Covers all high seas areas from 10 degrees North latitude to 20 degrees South latitude and 170 degrees East to 150 degrees West in longitude * Covers an area of 4,555,000 sq km
LAUNCH: First Lady of the Marshall Islands, Hannah Jurelang Zedkaia, and Angela M. Zackhras, unveiled the carved wooden PNA sign outside the office to symbolize the launch. H.E. Iroij Jurelang Zedkaia President, Republic of the Marshall Islands said: “The waters of the countries of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement are ground zero for the last remaining viable fishery grounds in the world. Over the centuries, tuna fisheries in the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean have been so over-exploited that self-sustaining fisheries is not even contemplated let alone attempted. This is a lesson for the Pacific Region in general and the PNA countries in particular.” “As we celebrate this momentous occasion today, let us not lose sight of the purpose which has drawn our countries together in the first place. Our joint collaborations have gradually improved over the years to effectively conserve and maximize the benefits back to the PNA countries of our “Blue Gold” – tuna – through proper management and conservation.” The President also asked delegates for a moment of silence honoring the contribution of pioneering PNA Leaders: the late Hammer de Robert of Nauru, the late Solomon Mamaloni of the Solomon Islands, the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare of Papua New Guinea, the late Toaripi Lauti of Tuvalu, Tosiwo Nakayama of the Federated States of Micronesia, Iremeia Tabai of the Republic of Kiribati, the late Haruo Remelik of the Republic of Palau and RMI First President the late Iroijlaplap Amata Kabua.
AGREEMENT: Earlier this year, at the PNA Presidential Summit in May, Leaders agreed in a historic event to close high seas areas to purse seine fishing and support controls on fishing through the Vessel Day Scheme. The announced high seas closure was an area of 4,555,000 sq km between 10 ºN and 20 ºS, in the Western and Central Pacific by prohibiting purse seine vessels licensed by the PNA to operate in these waters, a world first. Today’s Ministerial Meeting further implements the Presidential decisions and enables establishment of the PNA Office with functions to support PNA members on sustainable management and development of tuna. Outcomes from today’s Ministerial Meeting includes:
NOTED THE PROGRESS ON VESSEL DAY SCHEMES FOR PURSE SEINE & LONGLINE FISHING VESSELS: Ministers noted progress to further develop the purse seine Vessel Day Scheme currently in place and the development of a new Vessel Day Scheme for longline fishing vessels. EU-TRADE: PNA Ministers discussed negotiations with the EU regarding the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreement and the importance of ensuring effective participation of PNA in particular in shaping the fisheries provisions of the EPA. OBSERVER COOPERATION: Ministers supported proposals to allow fishing observers from one PNA member country to act as observers in other PNA member’s waters. Transboundary cooperation of the PNA regarding observers will ensure coverage of all purse seine vessels in PNA waters with observers, who act as independent monitors on fishing practices including compliance with conservation and management measures. The PNA Officials will continue meeting tomorrow to discuss how to implement Ministerial and Presidential decisions such as the Vessel Day Scheme, high seas closures, controls on FADs, eco-label certification of skipjack tuna and development of the PNA Office.