Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 12

Issue 12, 30 March 2015

Your fortnightly report on trends and influencers on the global tuna market from the Pacific Islands. Click this link to read PDF: http://www.pnatuna.com/sites/default/files/marketintel12.pdf

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Tuna prices on the Bangkok tuna market are expected to drop again as low as US$950 per metric ton market next month, sources reveal.

The current price level is at between $1,000/t and $1,010/t, with the expectation of prices as low as $950/t next month.

Raw materials seem to still be in abundance causing the prices to drop drastically.

However, total skipjack imports to Thailand in January 2013 were 65,229 tons and shrunk in January 2014 to 45,208 sinking a further 35,940 tons in January 2015.  Sources are pointing fingers at buyers who are holding out on orders causing the prices to drop.

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PNA hits back

Hot off the press last week is a radio interview with Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Transform Aqorau on New Zealand and the United States criticism on fishing industry interests of the organization's tuna management system.

He described the criticism as attempts to bully small island countries that are successfully conserving fisheries resources while increasing economic benefits for themselves.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand in Auckland last Sunday where Pacific Island Countries have been meeting with the United States on access for U.S. tuna fishing vessels, Dr Aqorau rejected criticism of PNA's Vessel Days Scheme (VDS) by New Zealand and US industry interests. 

"Under the VDS, purse seine fishing in our waters has been tightly controlled, with satellite tracking and observers on board every vessel," Dr Aqorau said. "As a result, there has been no significant increase in catches in our waters in recent years, our stocks are abundant, and access to our waters is valuable."

In contrast to the PNA area, said Dr Aqorau, "catches in the region outside our waters have nearly doubled in the same time, over-supplying the global market. This is a result of reckless expansion of fishing outside our waters by the tuna industry trying to evade the tight controls in our waters and our fees."

PNA waters supply over 50 percent of the world's skipjack tuna.

Dr Aqorau also objected to the pressure being put on PNA member countries to extend the current concessionary arrangements for U.S.vessels fishing in their waters.

"If the U.S. can't afford to fish in our waters, won't invest with us, and doesn't like the tight controls in our waters, they should go back to fishing in the Eastern Pacific where they originally came from," said Dr Aqorau.


Japan, Taiwan and ISSF under fire from PNA for blocking Islander development

PNA has also fired back at Japan, Taiwan and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) accusing them of blocking participation of Islanders in the fishing industry through running their own boats.

"Of substantial concern to PNA members is the systematic abuse of the WCPFC process to block the construction of new purse seine vessels for PNA members," said Dr. Aqorau. PNA members agreed that the Chairman of the PNA, Patrick Mackenzie from the Federated States of Micronesia, would write to both Taiwan and Japan expressing this concern and requesting a consultation at the earliest opportunity to resolve the problem and avoid the need for further steps to be taken by PNA.

PNA members also expressed grave concern about ISSF decisions to block landings of fish from any vessel that is not on their Register, which "have the potential to obstruct the legitimate development of
the domestic tuna fisheries of PNA members," said Dr. Aqorau.

PNA has called on ISSF for consultation to remove this obstacle to PNA members developing sustainable domestic fisheries for tuna in their waters.

PNG eyes deadline

Papua New Guinea's National Fisheries Authority is racing to meet a June deadline to implement changes recommended by the European Union since it gave it a yellow card status last year.

NFA Managing Director John Kasu said they would be implementing the changes this year and hire people to manage implementation. "Basically what EU told us is, if you (NFA) can get the legislation in before we meet in Tokyo (this month) then that will be a very positive sign and we (EU) may look at removing the yellow card," said Kasu.

“The legislation has been in place since 1989,”Kasu explained, “ithas not addressed those changes so EU wanted us to update it and it is one reform that we have worked on, it has gone before parliament as of this month.”

The tuna management plan has also been updated and is ready for application next year.


PNA confident on FAD trial

PNA Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn said a limited trial tracked 11 FADs last year demonstrated the value of tracking FADs.

PNA estimates that at least 30,000 FADs are in central and western Pacific fishery waters. “On any one day, 6,000 FADs are in active use by purse seiners,” said PNA Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn.

As reported in the last edition of Tuna Market Intelligence, the FAD tracking plan will be rolled out over the next two years.

“We can link fishing boats to FADs and can count their interactions,” said Brownjohn. It’s like counting fishing days for vessels, which is the basis of PNA’s successful Vessel Days Scheme. The combination of on-board observers and computer-satellite technology available can show if vessels are setting nets around FADs, and how many FADs individual purse seiners are using.

“We are now able to get some grasp on the FAD issue,” said Brownjohn.

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the World Wildlife Fund have been supporting the FAD tracking pilot project, including providing satellite time for the first 12 months of the new program.


PNG monitors vessels

National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is only able to monitor vessels licensed to fish in PNG waters, Managing Director John Kasu says.

Responding to The National on illegal fishing at the in West Sepik and Western provinces, Kasu said the authority has an arrangement with the Papua New Guinea Defence Force to patrol the country’s waters: “With fishing vessels that we (NFA) license we have devices for monitoring purposes installed on board and we can monitor those vessels.But it is those that we don’t license that we don’t see.At our borders the waters are quite big and difficult for us to know.”

“Our patrol is done up in the north and it’s only once in a while and that’s not enough, we’ve got a vast area of water, “he added.

Kasu stressed that sustainability of the fishery was very important for the country. Tuna remains PNG’s key fisheries export with bech-der-mer, prawn, lobster and barramundi offering further export potential. Up to18 per cent of the world’s total tuna stock is sourced from PNG.

He said Papua New Guinea now has six tuna processing canneries most of which are located in Morobe province.

VDS day usage

The latest VDS graph shows how days are being used for each month.  PNA nations began with 5000 days in January and have hit a 10,000 day limit in March.  Days are expected to increase gradually as the graph shows: http://www.pnatuna.com/sites/default/files/marketintel12.pdf

ABOUT TUNA MARKET INTELLIGENCE Tuna Market Intelligence is an independent publication, sponsored by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to unearth industry and market information from Pacific Island reporters and analysts. Reprint in the media from the PNA countries is free. All other reprints must be authorized. Contact us on marketintel@pnatuna.com or see more on www.pnatuna.com

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