Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 8

Issue 8, 31 January 2015

Your fortnightly report on trends and influencers on the global tuna market from the Pacific Islands. Click this link to read PDF:

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The January reports indicate skipjack prices in Bangkok have remained stagnant USD $1,150 per metric tonne as of this week.

The prices have remained such since December last year.

Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Chief Executive Officer Dr Transform Aqorau said the prices remained stagnant because there was more fish in stocks.
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***Fishing company subscribes to sustainable fishing***

The largest tuna supplier in the Western Pacific ocean Fong Chun Formosa Fishery Company Limited (FCF) has signed onto the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainable fishing standards on free school skipjack under the Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Pacifical brand.

The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between PNA - Pacifical and the largest tuna supplier in the Western Pacific Ocean, Fong Chun Formosa Fishery Company, Ltd. (FCF) covers their latest processing investment n PNG.

The MOU means that the company catches fish without the use of manmade or natural objects like Fish Aggregating Devices and are certified as sustainable.


***Palau sanctuary to benefit State***

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism maintains that Palau would gain more benefits from implementing the proposed marine sanctuary (closing commercial fishing) compared to keeping fishing activity open.

Minister of Environment and Tourism Umiich Sengebausaid in a press conference this month that Palau will not lose revenue if it implements the proposed Marine Sanctuary plan, and it could be far more profitable to close down 80 percent of the island-nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone as proposed.
“It is not going to happen, there will be more opportunities for funding with the marine sanctuary plan,” he added.

Earlier Remengesau has said that the revenues Palau generates from allowing foreign commercial fishing in its waters is at least $5 million annually, the amount also includes indirect revenues from fishing.
Remengesau called fisheries money, “a drop in the bucket,” which can easily be replaced by incorporating a fee on tourists into the cost of airline tickets, as proposed in the marine sanctuary legislation.

Remengesau told reporters that if the government doubles the current green fee of $30 dollars, it could make up for the loss of revenue.The latest tourism numbers of Palau for 2014 showed that it registered an all-time high of over 140,000 arrivals.

***Cooks to expand purse seine fishery***

The Cook Islands will expand its purse seine fishery this year through a new initiative approved by Cabinet last week.

The Ministry of Marine Resources said the fishery is expected to generate an estimated $10 million in revenues for 2015. Cabinet agreed that a new access arrangement will be made with South Korean fishing company Silla Co. Ltd for 400 days of purse seining in CI waters, worth an estimated $4 million. Another 300 days of bilateral fishing with the US fleet was also approved, worth an estimated $3 million this year.

The Ministry of Marine Resources purse seine regulations established a total allowable catch of 1,250 fishing days for the fishery. Purse seine fishing for skipjack tuna has so far has been limited to the US fleet. However, based on fleet’s requirements for 2015 of 550 days, there was a shortfall of 700 days available under the WCPFC quota, which the Ministry has proposed to assign under other arrangements.

“The company’s purse seine and longline vessels operate throughout the Pacific region and it has a reputation as an efficient operator. Silla Co is already fishing in our surrounding waters, namely Kiribati, Tuvalu and Tokelau, and access to the Cook Islands would add value to their existing access arrangements,” said Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) Secretary Ben Ponia.

***PNG wants probe on tuna firm***

Concerns are being raised at the highest Government levels in Papua New Guinea over a tuna processing factory that has not made profits for the last 10 years.And PNG'sTrade Commerce and Industry Minister Richard Maruhas called on the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) to investigate Wewak based South Sea Tuna Corporation.

Maru questioned how the South Sea Tuna Corporation could still be operating for over 10 years if it was a loss making operation: “No company can exist without making loss. How can you invest in expanding operation and employing more staff without making money?”

Earlier, South Seas Tuna Corporation (SSTC) said it planned to increase its production to 160 tons per day with plans to achieve profitability this year.
President Mike McCulley told The National that the company also would hire an additional 1000 employees.McCulley had said unloading time was a challenge for SSTC, thus having a negative impact on the company’s results.

***Important outcome for oceans***

It looks like more moves to control all activities in our oceans on a global level (including fishing) could benefit the world's largest ocean area - the Pacific.
States at a recent meeting in New York,took a step toward urgently needed ocean protection agreeing to develop a legally binding agreement to conserve marine life in the highseas - which includes tuna.

After four days of deliberations at the meeting, States reached consensus to begin negotiating the first UN treaty that specifically addresses the protection of marine life in an area covering half the planet – those ocean areas beyond national EEZs.

***Tuvalu wants purse seiners released***

Tuvalu will continue to fight for its second purse seine vessel, says the Director of Fisheries Samasoni Finikaso.

Taiwan's shipbuilding company Ching Fu has completed 40 percent of the work on the Tautaloa vessel since work started in March 2012.Caretaker Minister for Natural resources - Hon Elisala Pita admits Tuvalu is struggling to develop its domestic fishery by expanding from one to two purse seiners in order to fully participate in the harvest of its own fishery resource.Distant water fishing nations harvest 60,000 tonnes of fish each year from Tuvalu.

However, work on the vessel has been suspended after the Taiwan Fishery Agency first refused to issue a permit to build and then turned down a permit to export the Tautaloa.Taiwan laws state that any country that wants to build a new purse seiner in Taiwan must first get rid of its old purse seine vessel.

The construction of the Tautaloa is fully funded by Tuvalu’s partner in the joint venture - Fong Hwa.
According to the Fisheries Ministry, construction of Tuvalu’s second purse seine vessel started after Taiwan’s President Ma Ying- Jeou visited Tuvalu.

He says the joint venture long term vision is to continue expanding the number of its purse seiners
“A purse seiner is normally manned by 30 crewmembers, so we are looking at employing ten or more locals to work on the Tautaloa until we have specialised engineers," Finikaso said.

ABOUT TUNA MARKET INTELLIGENCE 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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