Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 35

Issue 35, April 3, 2016

Your fortnightly report on trends and influencers on the global tuna market from the Pacific Islands  PDF version


Bangkok Tuna Market insiders have recorded another high of US$1600 per metric tonne in the recent week, compared to last fortnight's update, which was US$1450.

In part this is impacted by vessels from the United States being tied up for 2 months as a result of the US treaty impasse with Pacific Island states, but it also reflects  poor catches in the region as tuna moves west.

The Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) believe that the impact of the tying up of vessels from the US fleet will continue to be felt into late next month, noting  unless catches pick up the imminent Fish Aggregating Device FAD closure mid-year  will see  healthy prices into the 3rd quarter of the year.

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VDS tops agenda of PNA meeting

The hot issue at this year's Parties to Nauru Agreement annual ministerial fisheries meeting underway in Kiribati this week is he fishing controls currently being utilised under the Vessel Day Scheme.

And whilst Pacific Island leaders, many of whom are not fisheries people, may be seeking a new quota based system which is used in New Zealand, outgoing PNA Chief Executive Transform Aqorau has an Independant report that confirms the benefits of the current effort based Vessel Day Scheme.

The VDS has been increasing revenue for the islands from US$60 million in 2010 to an estimated US$400 million last year. But New Zealand has rallied behind the fisheries roadmap for a quota based system for the 17 member nations of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).

Ironically New Zealand experts are being employed on both sides of the divide - for and against the argument while the New Zealand government is currently funding a study on fisheries management for the region and has promoted switching from an “effort” to a “quota” management system for the, a detailed new study on the VDS by an independent New Zealand fisheries consulting firm will be a key part of the PNA discussions in Kiribati.  PNA Chief Executive Transform Aqorau said the said the risks of following New Zealand’s advice and establishing a quota system were huge: “If island leaders want to move to a catch-based system, then they need to understand the implications. The VDS is a package of integrated systems that include a fishery information management system, on-board observers, tracking of fish aggregating devices (FADs), the Marine Stewardship Council certification (of free school caught skipjack and yellowfin), and other measures. Dismantling it will have huge consequences.”

Significantly, too, PNA has extended the VDS to the longline industry beginning last year as part of its effort to control and sustainably manage fishing activity in its zones.   

Tokelau benefits from VDS

Meanwhile Tokelau (which has close ties to New Zealand) confirms it has benefitted from the PNA VDS scheme since 2012 building schools, hospitals, telecommunications and other important infrastructure with its revenue.

Their fisheries officials says they have been a proud and active participant of the scheme since 2012 under the international legal instrument known as the Palau Arrangement. Fisheries officer Feleti Tulafono said: "Prior to developing it Fisheries Policy and supporting strategy and plans and joining the VDS, Tokelau’s fisheries revenue from its offshore fisheries average less than US$1.00m per year (2000 -2010 average was US$0.92m)."

Tulafono said Stan Crothers has been the driving force behind the successful development and implementation the Tokelau Fisheries Policy and associated Strategy and the annual Offshore Fisheries Management Plan.

"His efforts have been instrumental in increasing Tokelau’s fisheries revenues from an annual average of less than US$1.00 in 2011 to over US$13.00m in 2016.

It is estimated that over 65% of these fisheries revenues can be attributed to Tokelau’s participation in the VDS.

There is no doubt that the increase in fisheries revenues has had a positive impact on the quality of life for the people of Tokelau, and at the end of the day that is what it is all about."

From January 1, 2017 Tokelau will fully implement the PNA Long-line VDS.

Because of its constitutional status Tokelau is not a Party to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) however it participates in all relevant PNA meetings as an observer.

New CEO for PNA

The PNA will also go for its second round of endorsements of its new CEO when they meet in Tarawa this week.

In the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting in Bali Indonesia last year the PNA decided not to endorse the candidate recruited by the PNA and went for a fresh call of candidates to go through the vetting system again.

The announcement should be made by the end of the meeting.  Dr Transform Aqorau who has been at the helm of the PNA since 2010 is expected to continue at the PNA secretariat in Majuro for sometime to ensure a smooth transition process is undertaken.

NFA pays dividends to PNG state coffers

Papua New Guinea's Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming warns that the global economic downturn, a fall in market price of tuna, and the movement of tuna stocks to the eastern Pacific Ocean could contribute to a decline in access fee revenues in the future.

Zeming said the authority generated most of its income from tuna resource rents through fishing access fees with Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and the Philippines.

He said this following the presentation of a K25 million dividend payment from the National Fisheries Authority, saying it will help fund the 2016 budget.

Last year, NFA paid out a K75 million in dividend to the Government.

The authority is also building jetties, wharves and fish markets from its fishing revenue.

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





























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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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