Tuna Commission confirms: Observer safety to improve, VDS works

   Majuro, Marshall Islands 24 June 2017: Pacific tuna resource owners concluded their annual meeting Friday in the Marshall Islands by sending a strong message of their commitment to conserving an

   Majuro, Marshall Islands 17 June 2017: Just days after the UN Oceans Conference in New York City called for action to protect the world’s oceans and to address over-fishing, leaders from the isl

MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS: The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) announced today the winners of its annual PNA World Tuna Day Art and Talent Quest.

   Majuro, Marshall Islands 19 April 2017: In addition to regional fisheries management issues, last week’s Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) annual officials meeting focused on strengthening PN

   Majuro, Marshall Islands 10 April 2017: Adding value to the tuna fishery and maintaining cooperation that has led to great benefits for the Parties to the Nauru Agreement was the theme of Monday

   Majuro, Marshall Islands 7 April 2017: Nine islands that control the majority of tuna in the western and central Pacific are meeting in Majuro this week and next, focusing on important tuna mana

Tenders are invited for Consultants to conduct a Study to provide preliminary advice to VDS participants on the feasibility and the potential benefits and costs of transforming the value of VDS PAE

  Majuro, Marshall Islands 27 January 2017: Focusing on strengthening management of the multi-billion dollar central and western Pacific tuna fishery, and supporting innovative ways for islands to

   Majuro, Marshall Islands 31 December 2016: Growing global market demand for MSC-certified tuna and fishing industry interest is expected to see “wild catch” tuna tonnage double from the waters o

   Nadi, Fiji 11 December, 2016: As many as 50,000 fish aggregating devices (FADs) are likely in use in the western and central Pacific tuna fishery, many of which are equipped with increasingly so

   Denarau, Fiji 9 December 2016: The best news coming out of this year’s Western and Central Fisheries Commission annual meeting for the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) is the Commission’s adoption on its last day of meetings today in Fiji of a measure to improve the safety of fisheries observers.

   Other good news from the annual meeting for the PNA is confirmation that the multi-billion dollar skipjack tuna industry is being effectively managed on its target reference point for stock sustainability. “This shows that PNA’s vessel day scheme works,” said PNA CEO Ludwig Kumoru. “The VDS limits fishing effort to sustainable levels.”

   Mr. Kumoru also said there was some useful progress on work to develop harvest control strategies and management measures that are expected to lead to improved long-term management of the tuna fishery.

   “Beyond this, progress at this year’s WCPFC annual meeting was limited,” he said.

   The outpouring of anger and call for a vote by island nations when initially the WCPFC was unable to get consensus to adopt a fisheries observer safety measure Friday afternoon demonstrates the determination of the islands to raise the bar for protecting its fisheries observers, said Mr. Kumoru. Not long before the meeting wrapped up Friday, consensus on the observer measure was reached, cancelling the need for a vote.      

   “Observer safety is a huge concern for PNA nations, so we are happy this measure has gone through to protect the men and women who are at the front line of our fishery,” said Mr. Kumoru.

   PNA also expressed disappointment that recommendations for an urgently needed stock rebuilding strategy for northern Pacific bluefin tuna were not offered by the relevant committee to the WCPFC during its annual meeting.

    “The observer safety measure was the biggest development at this year’s annual meeting. And some progress was made for developing harvest control strategies and management measures that will lead to improved management of our tuna fishery,” he said. “These measures take time to develop and the PNA group is looking forward to seeing substantial progress on these, as well as development of the tropical tuna ‘bridging’ measure, over the coming year.”

   While seeing modest progress on management issues, PNA’s CEO said bluntly that “distant water fishing nations are using the WCPFC as vehicle to promote and protect their interests in the fishery. We see this in several big nations’ attempts to get extra fishing days, prevent expansion of our domestic fleets and get access to trade information on the VDS.

   “The challenge we face is continuous attempts by distant water fishing nations to undermine the vessel day scheme that manages fishing effort in our zones, and to obstruct our attempts to expand our fishing fleets,” said Mr. Kumoru. “Solomon Islands head of delegation Ferral Lasi made this clear during the plenary Friday when he objected on behalf of PNA and all Forum Fisheries Agency members to a proposal by Japan to limit vessel capacity, which is simply a move to protect existing distant water fishing fleets.”

   PNA has proven that the VDS is successful in controlling fishing effort by setting fishing day limits, resulting in “excess fishing capacity” being removed from the fishery by market forces, he said.

   The lack of an effective strategy to rebuild northern Pacific bluefin stocks emphasizes the entrenched interests that want to maintain the status quo despite the urgency of the stock level, said Mr. Kumoru. “This lack of action on northern Pacific bluefin tuna — a high seas fishery controlled by distant water fishing nations — shows clearly where the roadblocks to rebuilding and conserving stocks are coming from,” he said.

   PNA members see that a “bottom up approach” has been the most effective for managing the tuna fishery, said Mr. Kumoru. “PNA has effectively used the vessel day scheme (VDS) and licensing conditions for in-zone fishing to control the purse seine skipjack fishery,” he said. “We are implementing a VDS for the longline industry as a first step to improving management of this fishery, and are focused on registration, tracking and study of fish aggregating devices (FADs). We are also expanding use of electronic reporting by fisheries observers that is improving access to catch data for stock assessment and management purposes. All of these initiatives contribute to sustainable use of the fishery. What we want to see is all distant water fishing nations supporting effective management of our high seas fishery — management that is not evident at the present time.”


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

Sign Up for our Newsletter

Stay informed on our latest news!

Subscribe to www.pnatuna.com newsletter feed