HONIARA (FFA) – U.S. vessels are to resume tuna fishing in the Pacific in a matter of days, thanks to an “extraordinary effort” on the part of Pacific island countries.
“I commend the Pacific Island Parties for once again being able to use their strong commitment to regional cooperation and unity to find solutions to a problem that has been foisted on them by the actions of others, in this case the US tuna fishing fleet” said Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Director General James Movick.
The resumption of fishing under the treaty by the U.S. purse seine fleet, follows the surprise U.S. action in late 2015 to request a substantial reduction in its fishing commitments in PIP fishing zones in 2016 despite an agreement reached earlier, in August 2015.
Pacific island parties met in Nadi for three days in early February to discuss the U.S. request for less fishing access and on Feb. 9 offered the U.S. a revised package with fewer fishing days. This reduces the required U.S. payment from almost $90 million to about $66 million. PIPs will now reallocate and sell the unused fishing days to other fishing fleets, including their own domestic operators, although the rates of financial return may not be as high as the rate agreed under the U.S. interim arrangement, because the fishing year is already underway.