Outcomes from PNA Ministers meeting

ALOFI, NIUE, SUNDAY 17 MAY 2009: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Ministers met today to make high level decisions on tuna fisheries management.

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu and often are referred to as the PNA. Their 3rd Implementing Arrangement, adopted in 2008, follows a tradition of innovation by PNA leaders in developing new initiatives to manage tuna resources in the region. Many of the measures of the PNA were also adopted at the last meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission such as the high seas pockets closure, controls on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and the coverage of purse seine fishing vessels with observers.

FFA provides assistance, such as the legal and technical assistance, to enable PNA countries to meet and make high level decisions and to implement these measures at a national level. This assistance is partly funded by the GEF-funded Oceanic Fisheries Management Project.

Outcomes from the Ministers include endorsement of the PNA Officials meeting report including:

• VESSEL DAY SCHEME: Ministers endorsed a scheme to establish effort limits for purse seine fishing vessels in the PNA waters and discussed trading schemes as well as the total allowable effort for the 3rd Management Year (2010) - this will be further discussed again in June in a special meeting of the PNA. This Vessel Day Scheme is part of a strategy to increase the economic returns from access to fishing grounds while managing fishing effort in the PNA countries.

• HIGH SEAS POCKETS CLOSURES: Ministers agreed to continue to support existing high seas pockets closures at the next meeting of the WCPFC in December. In 2008, they had agreed fishing vessels will no longer be allowed to fish in high seas pockets adjacent to the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) as a condition of their licenses. Closure of two high seas pockets were adopted by the WCPFC in December 2008. The PNA Ministers agreed to support the closure of additional high seas pocket areas between latitudes of 20 degrees North and 20 degrees South at the next WCPFC meeting in December 2009.

• PNA SECRETARIAT CONCEPT: Ministers agreed to the concept of the establishment of a secretariat for the PNA and adopted a PNA logo which will be officially announced in coming months.

• RIGHTS OF SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES: Ministers agreed to continue to raise the profile of the WCPFC Resolution 2008-01 on Development Aspirations of Small Island Developing States at regional and international meetings. • 3rd IMPLEMENTING ARRANGEMENT DECISIONS: Ministers noted work in progress to complete the draft regulations to enact the 3rd Implementing Arrangement by 1 January 2010 and endorsed the need for and importance of collaborative efforts on compliance as well as training of observers to meet in particular information regarding compliance with closure of the two high seas pockets.

• LONGLINE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT: Ministers agreed that the FFA Secretariat continue the work on developing a tropical longline vessel day scheme as well as investigating alternate management methods for the longline fishery. Chair of the PNA, the Honourable Taberannang Timeon (Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resource Development, Kiribati) said: “The PNA has come together, as owners of one of the last remaining healthy tuna stocks in the world, to increase the economic gains from tuna. As owners of this valuable resource, the Ministers commit to strengthening PNA’s leadership and control over the management of their tuna resources.”

In May 2008 PNA Ministers agreed, in an act of regional cooperation, to take measures to conserve their valuable tuna stocks by creating the 3rd Implementing Arrangement, details of which can be found on www.ffa.int/nauru_agreement/