FFA members and US meet in Palau this week

KOROR, PALAU FRIDAY 13 MARCH 2009: The members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) met US delegates about their multilateral fishing treaty this week.

The Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries Between Certain Governments of the Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States of America (commonly referred to as the "US Treaty") held its 21st Annual Consultation between the Pacific Island Parties and the United States, in Koror Palau.

At the opening of the meeting, on Thursday 12 March 2009, were The Honourable Kerai Mariur, Vice President of the Republic of Palau, Mr William Gibbons-Fly and members of the USA delegation, representatives of the Pacific Island Parties, senior officials of the Government of the Republic of Palau, and the FFA Director General Dan Sua and Deputy Director-General, Dr. Transform Aqorau.

FFA Director General Su’a N.F. Tanielu acknowledged the many statespeople who have worked over the years to build relations between the Pacific Island Parties and the US, including the late Dave Burney who passed away in February this year. He was one of the architects of the treaty as well as leader of the American Tuna Association and warmly remembered as a friend of the Pacific Islands in the tuna sector (See condolence letter attachment below).

FFA Director General Su’a N.F. Tanielu said:
“Our region is host to one of the last healthy fisheries stocks in the world, our tuna. Science has, however, been consistently reminding us that two of the four main tuna species are threatened with over fishing if the current level of fishing effort is allowed to continue.  Tuna resources are highly migratory, foraging from region to region, and migrating from country to country.  Thus, their long term determination of all stakeholders, including the Parties to the Treaty, to develop robust conservation and management measures that are supported by a viable monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) regime.   The positive outcomes of WCPFC5 last year in Busan to address these issues are welcome I call that we continue to work together in that spirit. This is a challenge that the Parties must address, and I have no doubt that the wisdom of the Parties can be able to address such concern in a manner that further adds to the success of the Treaty.”

The Honorable Vice President Kerai Mariur Vice President, Republic of Palau said:
“This Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries between the United States and the Pacific Island Parties is an important and exceptional fishing arrangement.  It has been viewed, over the years, as a mechanism for cooperation between Distant Water Fishing States and the Coastal States for over 20 years.  For this reason, it has been an admired piece of arrangement by the region with clear indication of responsibility and high level commitment, when it comes to adherence to the rules that are set by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and its member States, for fishing vessels fishing in our region.  In that regard, I would like express our appreciation to the level of compliance and responsibility that the US Fleets has shown and further express my gratitude to the United States Government and Industry.”

“The critical issue that we face today is how both Parties can reach mutual understanding to consider and promote consistency with all measures adopted by the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Convention. As we both share same interests, as both users and owners of the tuna resources, we have the responsibility to ensure the long term sustainability of the tuna resources. I urge both Parties to work in partnership to ensure the effective conservation and management of the fishery in our region.  In addition, I encourage that you show your full commitment to the goals and the development aspirations of the Pacific Island States, both under this Treaty and the Western & Central Pacific Fisheries Convention.”

Download photos below.