Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 24


What goes up must come down - so the saying goes and so too must tuna prices, which have just only inched its way back to a healthy status.

Thailand tuna market insiders say market prices have already dropped to US$1,400 per metric tons as of September 28. This is the first decline in the market since March last year but coincides with a similar drop in prices the same time last year when it slipped as low as US$1,200 per metric ton.

Trimarine's Managing Director Singapore, Phil Robert's told the Pacific Tuna Forum that the fishery value in 2013 was $3.8billion but was valued at $2.8billion in 2015 which represented a drop for every person involved in the industry.  Roberts urged stakeholders to implement controls to address these trends.

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Dr Aqorau sounds warning to new cooks

In the leadup to the Pacific Tuna Forum in Nadi lobbying for quota systems pitted against the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Vessel Day Scheme Parties (VDS) led PNACEO Dr Transform Aqorau to issue a timely warning.

“Work with us, and support the systems that we have developed — don’t undermine the fisheries management framework that we have developed, because we will ultimately win,” he said as he gave the Forum keynote address , concluding “we are here to stay.”

In reference to a new cook in the kitchen - New Zealand who has a proposal for replacing PNA’s VDS with a New Zealand-style quota management system - Dr. Aqorau said PNA has already conducted its own review based on recommendations from an independent review of the VDS that it commissioned in 2014. The Pacific Islands Forum (which unlike other Pacific institutions like PNA includes Australia and New Zealand)which met in Papua New Guinea earlier this month agreed to examine the idea of quotas with a review in 2016.

Among key findings of the PNA independent review was that VDS fees actually collected by PNA nations — currently at a minimum benchmark of US$8,000 per fishing day — are significantly below what has been attainable. “This is borne out by the fact that benchmark VDS fees have increased drastically over the past few years while the operating conditions in the fishery have remained comparatively stable, and last year dipped significantly with no impact on fees,” Dr. Aqorau said.  Revenue to the eight PNA nations has risen from $60 million in 2010 to an estimated $350 million this year.

PNG drops bombshell on foreign vessels

Papua New Guinea's National Fisheries Authority has dropped a bombshell last week when they told the Pacific Tuna Forum that all foreign flagged fishing vessels will no longer be licensed to fish in their waters as in the past.

Outlining the status of PNG's fishing industry NFA Managing Director John Kasu said the current outlook of PNG fishery included reduced catches.

Now, a total of 203 vessels were active in 2014, 23 of which were longliners, 193 purse seiners 13 purse seiners flying PNG flags.

FAO says fish in high global demand

The Food Agricultural Organisation says fish is more widely sought in the global food market than meat.

FAO's Jacqueline Alder, Chief Products Trade told the Pacific Tuna Forum in Nadi that demand for seafood was growing rapidly with the demand for fish traded globally at 40 per cent with meat only 10 per cent.

She labelled Japan, the United States and the European Union as the major tuna markets in the world.  Alder said the canned tuna markets have been the worst affected by lower prices so far failing to stimulate demand to a significant extent. However, she did say aquaculture was here to stay and also impact on supply.

Purse seiner association woes overfishing

The World Tuna Purse Seine Boat Owners Association reiterated some of the earlier concerns raised by stakeholders attending the Pacific Tuna Forum in Nadi last week.

WTPO Chairman Francisco Tiu Laurel Junior said there were around 200 vessels registered in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

He attributed overfishing to the overcapacity of the industry where too many boats, with 60 new ships entering the scene, which were bigger, faster and more efficient than existing vessels.

He said the total catch was put at 2.8 metric tonnes in 2014 and he would not be surprised if this figure increased to 3m tonnes in 2015.

PITIA - critical of WCPFC 2014

The Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association (PITIA) was critical of WCPFC's handling of tuna measures aimed at conservation, particularly on albacore tuna, at the last meeting of the Commission in Samoa.

The comment was interesting as the former WCPFC chairman who handled that meeting - Professor Glenn Hurry was coordinating the session PITIA representative Charles Hufflet made the critical comments in.

Hufflet provoked further with his question: "Should WCPFC be considered an impediment to domestic development as a consequence of their failure to manage stocks under their supposed jurisdiction?”

Tuna operator outlines challenges in Kiribati

The processing plant owner on Kiribati Golden Ocean has outlined major challenges it faces operating out of the largest tuna owning nation in the Pacific. Xue Jun Du told the Pacific Tuna Forum last week that it had invested $10m in its factory on Tarawa and had also assessed its operations on the island.

Major challenges included the high cost of construction of factories (which is50 per cent more than Fiji), high power costs, lack of fresh water and air freight schedule limitations and costs. On the plus side he said Tarawa is heavily populated with no lack of local fishermen and workers, they had a partnership with the Kiribati Government, a market to sell their fish and access to the Pacific’s largest EEZ. The Kiribati Competent Authority will soon be listed with the European Union opening up further opportunities.

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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




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