Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 28

Issue 28, November 30, 2015

PDF version available: click here to download


It won't be such a merry Christmas for tuna sellers at the Bangkok Tuna Market, insiders report.

At least if the latest rumours that prices as low of US$1,000 per metric ton will remain that way till December are true.The prices for skipjack tuna for delivery to Bangkok, Thailand, are continuing to decline and may remain that way until January.   

At least three traders in the Bangkok market reported doing a deal worth US$1,000 per metric ton. In November prices dropped from US$1,300 in October to $1,100 in November.

With stocks on their side, buyers are moving ata snail's pace and it may take a bit more time to finalise sales for end of the year.

Insiders believe it is highly likely that the price may drop a bit more. Whilst price does not normally become an issue at the WCPFC this week - it could rear up in any form or discussion at the meeting.

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FFA and PNA united on Skipjack proposal

Parties to Nauru Agreement and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency member nations are united on a proposal to cut fishing levels of skipjack tuna.

Essentially it is now a FFA proposal, which the PNA will support, as it attempts to meet a target reference point or the status desirable for sustainable management of tuna stocks.

And in another notable development on the issue, Japan has accepted the PNA proposal for a 50 per cent of unfished spawning biomass as the Target Reference Point. The reference point establishes a percentage below which the stock should not be fished to maintain sustainability of the stock.

PNA seeks hard limits

The Parties to Nauru Agreement will be seeking fishing limits at this week’s Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting in Bali.

Amongst them are hard limits for purse seine fishing effort on the high seas, a package of management measures for both longline and purse seine fishing fleets, and capacity management for small island developing states to expand domestic fishing fleets.

Building on its leading role in the WCPFC, PNA nations are again promoting formal proposals for strengthening management of the purse seine and longline industries on the high seas. “The key issue for PNA,” said CEO Dr. Transform Aqorau, “is that there should be linked discussions on purse seine and longline management measures.”

 The WCPFC has over 30 members representing both Pacific islands and distant water fishing nations and is responsible for managing fishing on the high seas in the western and central Pacific. The PNA represents eight Pacific nations that control waters where over half of the world’s skipjack tuna is caught.

 The PNA’s proposal aims to tighten fishing effort on the high seas by purse seiners, control transshipment of tuna on the high seas by longliners, and improve the effectiveness of fish aggregating device (FAD) closures now in place. PNA also endorses establishment of a target reference point (TRP) and harvest control rules for skipjack tuna to maintain long-term stability of this currently healthy tuna stock. “I believe we will get the TRP approved for skipjack at the WCPFC meeting,” said Dr. Aqorau. “It’s good management and makes sense. It will be a major achievement and reflects the amount of work that has gone into this over the past two-to-three years.”

Dr. Aqorau pointed out that the WCPFC needs to step up to fix the gaps in bigeye tuna management on the high seas. Tuna catches in the eight PNA 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs) have remained stable over the past five years, while catches on the high seas have increased dramatically over the same period due to lack of control, he said.

Committee calls for urgent action on key stocks

As usual, the upcoming WCPFC regular session in Bali Indonesian will be fuelled by current catch statistics from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community present at the WCPFC's Scientific Committee meeting in Pohnpei in August this year.

The session heard a range of data relating to 2014 catch statistics that reinforces the need for urgent action on key stocks.

The meeting heard that the provisional total catch for the WCPFC Statistical Area in 2014 was the highest ever, at an estimated 2.86 million tonnes (mt). 2014 saw record highs to skipjack (1.95 mt),  and also record high to yellowfin (0.6 mt), mainly due to increased catches in several longline fisheries.

The bigeye catch for 2014 (0.16 mt) was slightly higher than in 2013, but relatively stable compared to the average over the past decade.

Majuro's transshipment thrives

Majuro, Marshall Islands, has been bustling with tuna transshipment activity over the past several weeks. October is reported as being the busiest transshipment month ever in the history of Majuro’s development into the western Pacific’s most active tuna off-loading point.

Dozens of purse seiners use Majuro to off-load their cargoes of skipjack tuna onto the larger carrier vessels that anchor in the lagoon until they are filled for transfer to Asian, South American or US canneries.   During the week of October 25-31, 21 purse seiners and six carrier vessels were in the lagoon — with 16 of the purse seiners actively transshipping their tonnage. For the first two weeks of November, nine carriers and 13 purse seiners were in town — with nine of the purse seiners actively off-loading. This amounted to an estimated 30,000 tons of tuna being transshipped during this three-week period.

PNA's fish to fill Spanish dish

Parties to Nauru Agreement Chief Executive Officer Doctor Transform Aqorau says the bloc of eight nations has scored a major win by securing the market to supply its Pacifical brand tuna to Spain's MacDonald's chain.

Since we embarked on the road to attaining Marine employment and more revenue for the company from PNG, a major player in the PNA, that supplies the tuna.

From January next year MacDonald lovers in Spain can expect to taste Pacific Skipjack in more than 490 restaurants from Pacifical's MSC certified tuna in the healthy Tuna Mediterranean Salad.

PNA Fishing Day Usage at the end of Nov 2015

Purse seine vessels have used 38,000 days as at November this year, the latest update on VDS Total Allowable Effort reveals.

This is lower than the same period last year which was just over 46,000 days.

If the rate of usage in December follows that of November, the VDS days used in 2015 will stay well within the Purse Seine Vessel Day Scheme limit, or Total Allowable Effort. 

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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