Outcomes from FFA’s US & Indonesia talks

REGIONWIDE, TUESDAY 24 MARCH 2009: The members of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Secretariat have had separate meetings with Indonesia and the US this month to discuss issues of common concern to the Pacific Islands and these countries.

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 from 12-13 March.

Outcomes include:
1) The US confirmed the application of recently agreed measures by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (such as high seas pockets closure, periodic FAD bans, 100% observer coverage and catch retention) to its fleet.  However, further discussions will continue between the US and the Pacific Island Parties on how these measures will be implemented within the framework of the US Treaty.
2) The US agreed on the normal budget to cover observer coverage on US vessels and further discussion is on-going on the budget needed for the 100% observer coverage during the periodic FAD closure in the 2009/10 licensing period that commences in June 2009.
3) The US and Pacific Island Parties agreed to further cooperation on catch and effort data sharing and port sampling.
4) The US agreed that the FFA/VMS MapInfo baseline coordinates for the Pacific Island Parties are to continue to be used for the purpose of the Treaty, including for enforcement work arising under the Treaty, until such coordinates are officially varied by the respective Parties.
5) Renegotiation of the Treaty for a new arrangement beyond 2013 when the current Treaty arrangement will lapse, will commence in late 2009 between the Pacific Island Parties and the US.
6) The US agreed that the list of US fleet vessels, with names of ships, licence holders and other basic details will be made publicly available on the web
7) The next annual consultation will be in Niue in March 2010.

Issues still to be resolved include whether or not the Pacific Island Parties and US will agree on application of the Vessel Day Scheme (a scheme trading a set number of days for fishing) to the US fleet and the number of fishing days the US fleet will receive. The Treaty is due to end on 14 June 2013 when a new treaty or other kind of arrangement will have to be negotiated for the US to fish in Pacific Islands’ waters. Renegotiation of the Treaty and discussions about the new scenarios are expected to start in late 2009.

The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Republic of Indonesia has conducted “The Preliminary Consultation on Future Cooperation Between The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)” held in the Grand Bali Hotel, Nusa Dua on 17th March 2009.

The consultation was opened by the Secretariat General of the MMAF and the MMAF Delegation was chaired by the MMAF Minister’s Advisor on Economy, Social and Cultural Affairs, Dr. Suseno Sukoyono.  The FFA delegation was headed by Mr. Sua N.F. Tanielu (Director General of FFA) and accompanied by the Chairman of the Forum Fisheries Committee (The Republic of Palau), the Chairman of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (The Republic of Nauru), representatives of the Federated States of Micronesia and also the Legal Counsel of the FFA.

Outcomes include:
1) Agreement that the broad area of cooperation is in Fisheries Management and Science, and specific areas shall be identified through regular dialogue, including email exchanges and consultations.
2) Agreement the mechanisms for cooperation shall include: Visits by FFA and Indonesia, participation of Indonesia in FFA meetings and workshops, participation of FFA in Indonesia’s relevant meetings and workshops, meetings, on an opportunistic basis, in the margins of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and its subsidiary bodies meetings namely the Scientific Committee, Technical and Compliance Committee, Joint Tuna RFMO, FAO COFI.
3) Agreement Pacific Islands will support Indonesia’s hard efforts in convening the World Ocean Conference 2009, which will be held in Manado from 11-15 May 2009, and in the finalisation and adoption of the Manado Ocean Declaration. 
4) Agreement to fully support and welcome Indonesia’s accession to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention.
5) Agreement to establish an annual consultation for future cooperation between Indonesia and FFA.