Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 15

Issue 15, 18 May 2015

Your fortnightly report on trends and influencers on the global tuna market from the Pacific Islands. Click this link to read PDF: 

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More bad news for the fishing industry and boat owners in the region but good news for consumers who buy fresh fish or canned tuna in the destined markets.

The latest Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report states that food prices are expected to drop further as a result of what they term “fast growth in the aquaculture sector”. They predict fishing is expected to expand by five per cent in the year ahead. Wild fish catch is also expected to rebound after last year's shortfall inked to the El Nino weather complex.

The World Tuna Purse-seiner Organization’s proposed 35% cut in fishing effort is aimed at restoring skipjack prices to between US$1,500 and US$1,800 per metric ton. At present Bangkok Tuna market insiders estimate that prices are at US$1000 per metric ton.

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PNA clarifies WTPO decision

The recent move by the World Tuna Purse-Seiner Organisation (WTPO) to cut fishing down by 35 per cent is aimed at addressing the high supply of tuna which is plunging prices to a critical level on the tuna market. Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Chief Executive Officer Dr Transform Aqorau said the boat owners expect prices to go up if they can meet the targeted reduction of 200,000 metric tons of fish: "Vessel operators need to cover their costs and they can only do so if the prices are at a certain level that allows them to cover costs and make a profit."

RMI calls on more commitment from US industry

Parties to Nauru Agreement members and other island countries head to Nadi for more negotiations with the United States, amidst some skepticism.

Marshall Islands Fisheries Firector Glen Joseph believes It is up to the American fishing industry to make the United States Pacific fisheries treaty work. Getting to a final agreement “rests in industry hands, not the islands,” Joseph said in comments on the eve of the Fiji negotiating session. “If they want it, they have to maintain it. It’s just business.”

The May 18-22 talks come just two months after the last negotiating session held in Auckland, which showed the two sides were still far apart on some issues. With fishing days averaging about $10,000, Joseph and other PNA officials say the price US industry is paying under the current interim arrangement — even though it has greatly increased — is below what other fishing nations are paying for access. “It’s about paying up and following the rules,” said Joseph, who added he was not overly optimistic that the Fiji talks will be able to conclude the deal.

Tuna forum to benefit stakeholders

Fiji will be co hosting the Tuna Forum in September (22-23) with Papua New Guinea's National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and the NFA believes the forum helps stakeholders thrash out common issues that affect them.

National Fisheries Authority Managing Director, John Kasu, told the Post Courier the forum is an important one for Pacific Island nations who have an interest in the tuna industry: “This is because people can share their knowledge and experiences at the forum. And it’s a venue where you can discuss important issues related to the tuna industry and exchange ideas. It is also an avenue where investors can look at potential areas of investment.”

PNA addresses Palau sanctuary issue

As the small island nation of Palau gears up for its proposed Marine sanctuary, PNA CEO Dr Transform Aqorau has clarified whether or not Palau can trade days under the PNA Vessel Day Scheme if it closes its waters to fishing.

Palau's President has proposed a marine sanctuary to ban commercial fishing in its waters. In response to Palau's Sen. Mlib Tmetuchl queries regarding PNA’s position on the planned implementation of the Palau national marine sanctuary (PNMS), Dr Aqorau said once the waters are closed days cannot continue to be traded: “Palau cannot close its EEZ, prohibit purse seining (both domestic and foreign) and still trade its days. Palau can trade its days to other PNA members, sell its days to NGOs for conservation and then close its EEZ because it has no days which can be fished but it cannot close its EEZ and expect to still trade its days.”

Dr Aqorau said it would be up to the PNA member countries to decide whether they wanted to trade Palau's days.

PNG firm to land MSC tuna

One of the largest marine products companies in the world last week has announced that it will be landing its first load of Marine Stewardship Council tuna in Wewak, East Sepik Papua New Guinea for processing.

The Fong Chun Formosa Fishery Company Ltd (FCF) has more than 30 subsidiaries, fishing bases and shipping agents throughout the world to handle the service needs of its customers.

The load of skipjack tuna was harvested from Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) waters and certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as sustainable.

According to FCF, the 290 metric tons of skipjack was caught in the Republic of Marshall Islands and would be processed at the Wewak-based South Seas Tuna Corporation (SSTC), an FCF subsidiary. FCF chief executive officer WH Lee said: “This investment advances our production and sustainable operations capabilities while adding up to 700 additional labor jobs in Wewak.SSTC plans to invest US$3.5 million in capital expenditures to increase its production capacity to 160 metric tons per day.”

More than 60 FCF-associated fishing vessels are Marine Stewardship Council-certified.

VDS usage up to May

Meanwhile the PNA has released its Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) Total Allowable Effort up to May 13 (graph in the attachment below): the yellow line represents the constant monthly usage for staying within the TAE, whilst the red line shows the actual days used. At the end of April, effort in the VDS participants’ zones was just under 14,000 days and at May 13, the effort stands at around 15,000 days.


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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