PNA MINISTERS AGREE: OPEN PNA OFFICE, STRENGTHEN FISHING LIMITS & COOPERATE TO EXCHANGE FISHING OBSERVERS

PNA MINISTERS AGREE: OPEN PNA OFFICE, STRENGTHEN FISHING LIMITS & COOPERATE TO EXCHANGE FISHING OBSERVERS MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS, 22 APRIL 2010: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) 5th Ministerial Meeting agreed today on several measures to limit fishing and strengthen conservation and management of tuna.

The PNA brings together eight Pacific Island countries to sustainably manage tuna. PNA members are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu. These countries own waters which supply 25% of the world’s tuna, an estimated $2 billion worth of fish every year.

The PNA have a tradition of innovative conservation and management measures such as the Vessel Day Scheme (a system whereby a set number of fishing days will be sold and traded to the highest bidding fishing companies), closure of high seas areas to fishing and control of Fish Aggregating Devices (or ‘FADs’, which are human-made devices to attract schools of fish that often result in high juvenile fish catches).

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:

OFFICIALLY OPENED THE PNA OFFICE: Ministers signed a resolution to amend the Nauru Agreement and give legal status to the PNA Office which was officially opened today in Majuro, Marshall Islands.

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.

For interviews, or to be advised of further news, contact: Anouk Ride: anouk.ride@ffa.int Tel: +689 455 4944.