Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 21

Issue 20, July 31, 2015

Your fortnightly report on trends and influencers on the global tuna market from the Pacific Islands. To read pdf click herehttp://www.pnatuna.com/sites/default/files/marketintel%20clean%20august%...


Prices at the two major tuna market places have increased with the control on fishing influencing the drop in supply. Bangkok insiders have put prices at $1,500 per metric ton this month whilst Ecuador has reached $1,450 per metric ton.

Fears are rife also that the El Nino phenomenon may have an impact on catches thus further diminishing supply to these markets.  Plus, the World Tuna Purse-seiner Organization (WTPO) is also worried by the way their margins have been affected by the 35 per cent cut in fishing. WTPO Chairman Francisco Tiu Laurel said their margins were getting to be impossible and would be raised at upcoming major tuna forums: “I think the major issue going into the next tuna forum and the December WCPFC meeting would be Fish Aggregating Device matters and issues, the increasing cost of fishing days, and splitting the FAD closure instead of one continuous FAD closure for four months."


US treaty hits US$89.3m

The eight members in the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, as well as other Pacific nations, will see significant benefits from the one-year transitional arrangement for United States vessels for 2016 that was concluded on August 5 in Brisbane, Australia.

This is a “positive development reflecting the value of rights-based fisheries management” for the Pacific islands, said PNA CEO Dr. Transform Aqorau.

The islands will receive higher fees for fewer fishing days than in the 2015 arrangement. The total package, including both U.S. industry payments and the U.S. government fisheries subsidy comes to US$89,271,350 for 2016.  

The eight PNA members are estimated to receive US$12,600 per fishing day, a 34 percent increase over current fees paid by the U.S. purse seine fleet. In addition, the agreement for 2016 will, for the first time, see the Cook Islands receive significant payments under the Vessel Day Scheme, while the U.S. fleet will begin “exploratory” fishing opportunities in the exclusive economic zones of five South Pacific nations.

The U.S. tuna industry will pay US$68,271,350 and the U.S. government will provide a subsidy of US$21 million. Fishing day payments aside, each of the Pacific islands involved in the treaty will receive an equal share payment of US$680,397.

“This is a deal that is good for Pacific Island peoples and reflects the value of access to the world's last remaining healthy tuna resources,” said Dr. Aqorau. “It is an excellent deal for PNA and non-PNA nations alike, it shows how the VDS has worked, and how Pacific Islands have transformed the fishery.”

The U.S. also agreed not to fish in two high seas “pockets” located in the PNA region.

Bigeye tuna needs big action

The annual meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) is over three months away, but island fisheries officials are trying to find common ground with industry to gain WCPFC agreement on a workable conservation measure for bigeye tuna.

The Marshall Islands will host an important fisheries meeting next week, August 19-21, that will discuss options to reduce current heavy fishing that has put bigeye tuna stocks in jeopardy.

“The status quo won’t cut it,” said Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority Director Glen Joseph about current levels of fishing for bigeye tuna. “We need to take action now while we have the opportunity or the stock will crash.” Following repeated scientific reports stating that bigeye is being overfished, “this is a concern that everyone shares,” Joseph said. “The difficulty is getting everyone to agree on a meaningful measure (to conserve bigeye).”

Fisheries agency officials and industry representatives will meet in Majuro at the Western and Central Pacific Ocean Bigeye Tuna Management Workshop, jointly sponsored by MIMRA and the Honolulu-based Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council.

Joseph said he’s encouraged by the industry’s spending to convert fishing gear on its vessels that is reducing by-catch, including bigeye tuna. “Their investment in change shows they support long-term sustainability of the resource,” he said.

In its first decade of operations, the WCPFC has functioned by consensus, which has prevented Pacific islands from securing more aggressive conservation measures through the regional fisheries management body. At both the 2013 and 2014 WCPFC annual meetings, the organization did not adopt conservation measures to the extent proposed by its island members. Joseph hopes that the WCPFC is not forced to begin voting because he feels it could negatively impact cooperation needed to implement management measures and instead the upcoming discussions would result in a meaningful measure being put on the table at the December annual meeting of the WCPFC in Bali, Indonesia.

PNG boasts top of range VMS

Papua New Guinea has in place one of the best tools for sustaining tuna fisheries, National Fisheries Authority’s(NFA) managing director John Kasu says.

He said: “We have a state of the art Vessel Monitoring System – which we will keep improving; and one of the largest Fisheries Observer Programme in the world. The NFA have also developed a Catch Documentation Scheme to record all catches that are caught by each fishing vessel throughout PNG.”

Records showed that the volume of skipjack tuna catches in PNG averages around 500,000 metric tonnes with a high of 70,000 metric tonnes. Tuna remains PNG’s key fisheries export with beche-de-mer, prawns, lobsters and barramundi offering further export potential. Up to18 per cent of the world’s total tuna stock is found in PNG territorial waters.

PNG prepares for forum

The National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is confident in co-hosting this year’s tuna regional forum in Fiji, saying preparations for the event are going well.

Managing director John Kasu said the 5th Regional Tuna Industry and Trade Conference to be held at the end of next month in Suva received a lot of backing from the industry.The two day workshop would be jointly hosted with the Fijian government at a K1 million budget.

The Pacific Tuna Forum is held after every two years and PNG has been a part of this World Tuna Conference in Bangkok since 1980.

Kasu said: “We’ve got very good response from all our industries and our government entities even Morobe provincial government has given us K40, 000. We’ve got all the guest speakers.  After the Fiji one we are planning to bring the forum back to PNG.”

NFA’s deputy manager Philip Polon earlier said “For PNG we will show them (Pacific Islands) what we have in terms of resource, what we have in terms of processing, what we have in terms of measures we put together in controlling fishing, what we have in terms of answering EU market requirements.”The meeting is going to be held in Suva on September 22 and 23.

Follow us onTwitter - Tuna Market Intel

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


Send us your tips to marketintel@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

Sign Up for our Newsletter

Stay informed on our latest news!

Subscribe to www.pnatuna.com newsletter feed