Pacific nations hike tuna fishing fees by 33 percent

June 13, 2014
This photo taken on May 2, 2014 shows a net filled with skipjack tuna coming out of the hold of a purse seine fishing vessel anchored in Majuro Atoll as it off-loads the fish to a mothership for transfer to Asian canneries

Pacific island nations ratcheted up the fees they charge tuna fishing boats to enter their waters by a hefty 33 percent Friday as they accused foreign fleets of not doing enough to conserve stocks.

They also warned the United States, which operates under a separate tuna fishing agreement, that it also faced a substantial increase.

The eight countries that form the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) control waters covering more than half the world's skipjack tuna, the most commonly canned variety.

"There are too many boats catching too few fish," Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority director Glen Joseph said at the end of the PNA annual meeting on Friday.

"Limits are not being fully applied and rules are not being followed."

From January 1, 2015, the PNA will raise the fishing day fee for so-called "distant water" fleets from as far afield as Europe, China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, from $6,000 to $8,000.

This would increase annual revenue to $354 million.

"World market prices dropped late last year, but there are indications of improvement that warrant the increase," Joseph said.

In a strongly-worded communique, the United States was told the $63 million dollars it pays for 40 US-flagged purse-seiner vessels to in PNA waters would have to be renegotiated or they would not be given any fishing days next year.

The PNA covers Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.

The United States' fee was increased from $21 million last year during difficult negotiations between the island states, the American tuna industry and the US State Department. The figure will be looked at again when talks resume next month.

"We won't agree to anything after 2015 unless it reflects the new benchmark price," for other foreign vessels, PNA chief executive Transform Aqorau said.

The distant fishing nations were accused of not assisting with conservation measures and Joseph said they refused to provide catch data despite promising to do so.

"They need to pull their socks up and provide the data. This is an obligation of these states, but eight years later it is still a problem," he said.

Joseph said that despite the PNA limiting the number of fishing days in order to sustain the industry, the distant fleet continued to flout the rules.

Explore further: Pacific nations look to increase tuna fishing fees

Related Stories

Pacific nations look to increase tuna fishing fees

June 12, 2014

Pacific island nations announced plans Thursday to dramatically increase the fees they charge tuna fishing boats for the right to enter their waters, saying it will boost revenue and help conservation efforts.

Pacific tuna cutbacks 'fall short of expectations'

December 7, 2013

Cutbacks to tuna fishing agreed at a crucial Pacific regional fisheries conference to prevent over-fishing have fallen short of expectations, the head of the fisheries management body said Saturday.

Optimism for deal to lower Pacific tuna catches

December 5, 2013

Conservationists and fishing industry representatives expressed confidence Thursday they were close to agreement on cutbacks in the lucrative tuna fishing industry in the Pacific.

Showdown looms for lucrative tuna industry

December 1, 2013

The future of the world's largest tuna fishery will be decided at a meeting in Australia this week, with Pacific island nations demanding tighter controls on a catch now worth US$7.0 billion a year.

Big nations block curbs on tuna overfishing

December 6, 2012

Efforts to curb overfishing of tuna in the Pacific were blocked by big countries that refused to cut their catch at a meeting of tuna-fishing nations in the Asia-Pacific, delegates said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.