Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 36

Issue 36, April 17, 2016

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


Indications from Bangkok are that prices will remain flat at US $1600 per metric tonne as a number of factors influence the market.

Parties to Nauru Agreement Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn said indications  are that prices are flat as the trade comes to terms with higher prices.  The impact of the increased production from the United States fleet returning to the fishing grounds will soon be felt but this is expected to be marginal as many US boats have not returned to the region from the Eastern Pacific Ocean. "Meanwhile the fishing effort is moving west and catches are generally low," he said.

"With the Fish Aggregating Device closure due, midyear expectations are prices will stay up or even increase further as processors build up inventories, prior to the closure,” predicted Brownjohn.

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Vessel Day Scheme here to stay 

Amidst media speculation that the region would replace of the Parties to Nauru Agreement's Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) licensing scheme with a NZ-proposed catch scheme, the PNA has come right back with a clear message to any detractors of their scheme: VDS is here to stay.

That was the unanimous verdict at the end of the PNA Ministerial meeting in Tarawa Kiribati this month. Proponents of a catch-based scheme, suggested by New Zealand, seemed to back down from suggesting this for the PNA countries as PNA Ministers visited New Zealand last week. The change in tone from NZ and other organisations was welcomed by PNA.

Radio New Zealand's latest report on the issue carries a comment from FFA's Director General James Movick stating that there was never an intention to replace the VDS with the quota based system. "I don't think that there is a requirement that they move away from it rather than an encouragement that we look to improve upon the management processes that are agreed by the parties to those three subregional fisheries arrangements with a view to maximising the benefits we get from both conservation and economic development, not shoe-horning everybody into one single system, and that's absolutely not the intention at all," Movick said.

PNA’s decision this month to affirm commitment to the VDS followed an independent study of the PNA’s Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). The independent review by Toro Strategy Limited of New Zealand compared the effort-based VDS to a quota limit system and concluded: “The VDS is a fully functioning fisheries management regime without peer for its class of fishery…There is no clear benefit from changing the VDS from a Day scheme to a catch scheme now or in the near future.”

Palau sanctuary to affect fishing licenses

The Asian Development Bank expects fishing licenses in Palau to decline by 8.5 per cent.  According to the ADB's annual economic report launched on March 30, the licenses will be affected by the Palau Marine Sanctuary.

In October, Palau passed a law converting 80% of its territorial waters into a marine sanctuary, prohibiting commercial fishing, oil drilling, and seabed mining. To provide alternative livelihoods for affected households, the government will promote ecotourism.

Palau dedicated a higher percentage of its waters for protection than any other country in the world and created the world’s sixth-largest fully-protected marine reserve. The act also maintains 20 percent of the EEZ for Palau’s domestic market and local fishermen.

By October, Palau’s new environmental impact fee will replace lost revenues from banning commercial fishing in Palau.

Kumoro selected new CEO

The PNA has a new Chief Executive Officer. Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority (NFA) executive Ludwig Kumoro has been given the nod after going through two rounds of recruitment scrutiny.

Kumoro, Deputy Managing Director of Papua New Guinea’s National Fisheries Authority, is expected to take over as PNA CEO from 1 August 2016.

He was endorsed for the post by unanimous consent of the eight countries that are PNA members at the annual meeting last week in Kiribati after he was ranked as the top choice for the position by an independent search panel.  He will take over from outgoing CEO Dr Transform Aqorau.

Mr. Kumoru said he was happy about being selected by PNA members and is looking forward to the many challenges presented by leading this bloc of nations that control waters where 50 percent of the global supply of skipjack tuna is caught.

Mr. Kumoru said PNA has many opportunities for expanding initiatives to the benefit of the islands. Going forward, the “challenge is to come up with ideas to add more value to the PNA fishery,” Mr. Kumoru said.

“Parties need to cooperate more closely, especially in terms of developing their domestic industries. What are things they can do to add value to each others industry?”

PNA management measures create business and development opportunities, he said. These include the higher price and scarcity of fishing days prompting distant water fishing vessels to flag domestically with PNA nations, and managing and charging for Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that is a new revenue source as well as a conservation initiative. “Other opportunities are in crewing, observers placements, and provision of supplies,” said Mr. Kumoru.

Dr. Aqorau said he felt he was leaving PNA in capable hands with the appointment of Kumoru. He pointed out Kumoro had scientific expertise and practical experience having been on fishing vessels and participated in tuna tagging programs, as well as being involved in PNA initiatives over many years.  “He has hands-on fisheries management experience in addition to his experience as deputy managing director of the largest fisheries department in the region,” said Dr. Aqorau.

PNA thanks Dr Aqorau

The leaders of the PNA have thanked and saluted the contribution of outgoing CEO Transform Aqorau for his input in the bloc of eight nations over the last five years.

Dr Aqorau took up the position in 2010 after resigning from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency as Deputy Director General. He moved to Marshall Islands where Papua New Guinea had provided $1m to establish the secretariat.

He was responsible for the successful implementation of the VDS scheme which has driven up the value of the PNA fishery significantly from US$60m to US$400m.

The Ministers hailed this contribution in a resolution of their meeting in Tarawa last week. Dr Aqorau will continue to work at the secretariat to ensure a smooth transition of leadership is conducted.

MSC tuna to hit North America

PNA Expects more Marine Stewardship Council certified tuna from PNA waters to hit supermarket shelves in North America.

This is due to the signing of an agreement between North American company Bumble Bee Seafoods with Pacifical to purchase and promote PNA MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified tuna under the Pacifical co-brand. The tuna will come from eight member countries of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) in the Western Central Pacific Ocean.

PNA's Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn said this demonstrated the value of sustainable tuna management: “We bear the responsibility of ensuring the sustainability of our tuna stocks for the future of our people and our children and as an important food source for the world’s population and we look forward to working with Bumble Bee as a leading brand in the catering and retail trade in the United States and around the world to increase the supply of MSC labeled sustainable tuna.”

Purse Seine Vessel Days use is moderate

The number of fishing days used under the PNA Vessel Day Scheme for 2016 is still maintaining its moderate pace as illustrated in the graph below, where the yellow line represents the constant monthly usage for staying within the TAE (total allowable effort), and the red line shows the total VDS days in zones, taking into account non fishing days.

As illustrated by the graph here, the collective effort at the end of March is around 8,100 days and just over 9,000 days on 11 April.

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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