Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 13

Issue 13, 19 April 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/marketintel13_0.pdf

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Despite indications that tuna prices in the Bangkok Tuna market may drop to as low as US$950 per metric ton this month it has remained stagnant at US$1000 /t.


At the same time the Ecuadorian-based fleet, which operates in the Eastern Pacific, has been busy in the early parts of the year catching a whopping 40,123 tons of fish in the first three months of the year which is contributing to the glut.

The Manta Market price in Ecuador has reached the US$950 per metric ton already reflecting the over supply from their fleet.

As recently as June last year, skipjack was selling at US$1,800 in Bangkok. But the price has since plummeted to US$1,000 since the beginning of the year, with industry officials anticipating further reductions in price this year.

At US$1,000 a ton, most vessels are losing money.

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PNA suggests fish ban

A one-month halt to purse seine fishing is being urged by a Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) officials as part of a strategy to raise world market prices for skipjack tuna.

Parties to Nauru Agreement sources say it is global over supply and reduced global demand that is responsible for the glut of skipjack on the market.  

The drop in prices is hurting the purse seine fishing and processing industries, with some boats and carrier vessels anchoring in hopes of a price rebound.Majuro, currently the busiest tuna transshipment port in the region, has seen the most tuna carrier vessels anchored on record, with 12 sitting in the lagoon, most of them not loading.

“The carriers are backed up,” said Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn in early April. “We’ve never had so many in the lagoon.”

The price is now so low that PNA and some industry officials are proposing a one-month halt to fishing to reduce the over-supply on the market that is keeping prices down. This option was discussed at last month’s PNA annual meeting in Yap, but no decision was taken.

Representatives of the World Tuna Purse Seine Organization (WTPO) have asked to meet with PNA officials later this month, according to Brownjohn.

Fifteen years ago, when the price of skipjack hit a low of about $450 a ton, the WTPO agreed to a temporary hold on fishing and delivery of skipjack, which caused the price to rebound to $850 a ton: a price level at which purse seiners could turn a profit at the time.


High level support for Palau fishing crack down

Palau law enforcers slapped a hefty $100,000 fine on a Taiwanese fishing vessel last month for illegally fishing in its waters and warn that that they may later increase fines to deter these activities.

The President's Press Secretary Olkeriil Kazuo said: "The Pacific Ocean accounts for sixty to seventy percent of the world's tuna resource. We should all come together and try and regenerate these depleting resources, and conservation is the key to that effort."

Keobel Sakuma, a special adviser to Palau's president said that Palau needs to address the recent increase in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in its 630,000 square kilometer Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“It’s come to a head in the last year or two in our southern island where in the evening you can see dotted lights of these illegal vessels that come into our waters, fill their holds with our fish, our resources, our food security, and go and sell it to the black market in Asia or somewhere else,” he said.

Once the Palau Marine Sanctuary legislation is passed by Congress later this year,the penalty for illegal fishing couldgo as high as $500,000 to $1 million.


No loss on yellow card for PNG

Papua New Guinea has not recorded any economic loss since the country was flagged with a “yellow card”by the European Commission last June, an official says.

National Fisheries Authority (NFA) Acting Managing Director Ludwig Kumoru says the country was still exporting 99 per cent of its processed tuna to the European Union (EU) markets.He said the country’s average revenue from tuna per year was K300 million.

“We (PNG) are still marketing our products to EU; EU hasn’t stopped us but if we don’t comply with its concerns and if it goes to red that’s bad news for the country, the whole industry will collapse,” he said.

“All our factories will close, about thirty thousand plus people will lose jobs.”

NFA’s managing director John Kasu had told The National newspaper that the authority has addressed EU’s concerns regarding legislation, tuna management plan and the national plan of action.

He categorised these three as key areas the EU raised when it flagged Papua New Guinea with a “yellow card” last June.


PNG wants vessels to carry their flags

The Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority (NFA) earlier this year has tasked all foreign owned vessels to carry PNG flags in order to fish in the country’s waters for tuna.
PACNEWS reports NFA Deputy Managing Director Ludwig Kumoru assaying this would give Papua New Guinea some control over its fisheries industry.
He said another reason for the reflagging of vessels was because the authority was trying to limit the number of boats fishing in PNG waters.
“As it is, foreign boats with foreign flags have every right to take fish out of the country; they don’t carry the PNG flag. The moment we make them have PNG flag we can control and ask them to process fish here.”

Get In Contact With Us

Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA)
PNA Office PO Box 3992

Majuro, Marshall Islands
MH 96960
Phone: +692 625 7626/7627
Fax: +692 625 7628

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