Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 16

Issue 16, May 31, 2015

Your fortnightly report on trends and influencers on the global tuna market from the Pacific Islands. PDF version is available here: http://www.pnatuna.com/sites/default/files/marketintel16.pdf


Tuna insiders at the Bangkok tuna market have seen a slow rise in tuna prices just a month after the World Tuna Purse Seine Boat Owners committed to a reducing its fishing efforts by 35 per cent.

Bangkok insiders report fishing prices have risen from a low of US$950per metric ton to US$1100 for May.

Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Commercial Director Maurice Brownjohn said they had braced for a further drop in prices to as low as $850/mt now and a low of $650 per metric ton which was predicted before the WTPO decision.

However, after the decision was made prices in fact rose from $950/mt in Bangkok and have now risen to about $1100/mt [a 15% increase].  

"With WTPO's initiative to reduce effort [and supply] due to now start to impact, coupled with the additional uncertainty of the FAD closure it should see prices continue to rise steadily," Brownjohn said, adding:“ it depends on the overall supply and demand not PNA waters in isolation.”

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US treaty clock ticks away

Time is running out for the US fleet negotiating a follow up treaty to its existing agreement.  If they fail to wind things up this year they may have to revert to bilateral arrangements and pay the premium price for the PNA Vessel Day Scheme, which is US$12,000 per day.

PNA CEO Dr Transform Aqorau said some nations had already started negotiating with other fishing interests based on the VDS scheme.

"It is up to the US now to separate the boys from the men which means only the efficient fishing boats will break even," he said. "This is really a US problem but it would be a pity should they lose this opportunity.  They need to address the issues at hand to avoid this situation."


New report favours sanctuary over selling days in Palau

A new report suggests that a marine sanctuary would benefit Palau more than the PNA Vessel Day Scheme.

A large fishing closure as part of the planned Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) “may benefit fishing of migratory species such as tuna in waters nearer to shore by local Palau fishers,” a report by National Geographic Pristine Seas and the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) argues.

PICRC CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, conducted the study and presented the result of the scientific research.

The report said that half of the skipjack tuna spend their entire lives within a radius of 675–750 km, and yellowfin tuna were found to have even smaller ranges.

PNA heads to Pohnpei next month for its annual ministerial meeting where they are expected to discuss how Palau's VDS days will be treated.

PNA Chief Executive Dr Transform Aqorau has advised them that should the Parties agree to trade their days with Palau then that would happen.


Palau lawmakers pass US$1million fine increase

Palau's lawmakers made a statement in their House of Delegates this month increasing fines for illegal fishing to US$1million.

The bill stated that although the current penalties for illegal fishing in Palau can be as high as $250,000, it is still lower compared to the fines imposed by its neighboring countries such as Federated of States of Micronesia (FSM).

The bill also bans the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD).FADs are a permanent, semi-permanent or temporary structure or device made from any material and used to lure fish.

The bill also set a minimum penalty of $500,000 as fines for illegal fishing and a maximum fine of $1 million.

The fines proposed in this bill is similar to the fines recommended in the pending Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) legislation.

The bill goes back to the Senate for review and action.  Once passed, it becomes law.


EU trade talks dead

Amidst strong Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) criticism, the European Union (EU) remains adamant that it is firmly committed to economic partnership in the Pacific.

The comments came after talks for an Economic Partnership Agreement between the PIF and EU broke. down.

Pacific Island nations have been anticipating an agreement which would bring them benefits like market access but after a decade of trade talks no agreement was reached.

Meanwhile Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said an interim EPA (iEPA) negotiated with Fiji and PNG provided an alternative option.

"The EU continues to view the Pacific as a privileged and not just an area of trade.

In the trade field, the EU is continuing to implement faithfully the EPA concluded in 2007 with PNG and Fiji and which has an accession clause for Pacific countries big or small that wish to join it.

Reporting the progress of Papua New Guinea’s Ambassador to the European Union, Joshua Kalinoe said since the implementation of the iEPA, the country’s fishing industry has generated 30,000 jobs, benefiting mostly women.

“These women who otherwise would have been unproductive are now engaged in meaningful employment, working in these fish processing factories, Ambassador Kalinoe told PACNEWS in Brussels.

PNA's Dr Aqorau said that the state of play with any broader regional EPA reflects the increasing complexities of trying to negotiated  package in which there are increasingly diverse national interests amongst the Parties.

Other analysts have pointed out for all the time and cost of regional EPA negotiations for the past 12 years, only a few Pacific countries with large purse seine fisheries would be able to take advantage of potential benefits, suggesting for the bulk of the Pacific Islands further talks may not be worth the effort.


The VDSTAE usage at 28 May 2015

As of May 28, the effort of VDS participants’ zones reached just under 16,500 days, up from around 15,000 days in mid-May. This is illustrated in the graph in the below attachment where the yellow line represents the constant monthly usage for staying within the TAE, and the red line shows the actual days used.


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

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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