PNA countries reap licencing revenue
Pacific countries are hauling in millions of dollars in revenue from fishing licenses but will not last forever.
Pacific countries are hauling in millions of dollars in revenue from fishing licenses but it will not last forever.
Members of the Parties to the Nauru agreement employ the vessel day scheme, or VDS, which charges foreign ships at least US$8000 a day to fish in their waters.
The PNA has been pressured by other countries in the past to change the scheme or lower the price.
But the PNA's Transform Aqorau told Daniela Maoate-Cox the scheme is creating scarcity which will likely keep the high revenue going for another couple of years.
TRANSFORM AQORAU: Well it's an instrument, so you expect that as long as you have this instrument that is able to create scarcity then you will continue to see that these revenues are maintained and if they do the same thing being able to sell and create, continue to apply these limits, then we expect to see revenues to increase but I don't expect that we will continue to see this windfall for ever because there's a certain point in time where at which the rentals in the fishery will peter off and there will be a leveling off but I think we're still climbing up because I'm seeing the demand for days continuing to grow so the value for these days will increase. But I think there will come a time when they will peter off and therefore we will need to start looking at things like value rather than volume, and quality rather than quantity, and maybe look at alternative arrangements within the scheme and that's to deal directly with processing plants and brand holders. So those are some of the things that lie ahead of us but for the moment we're still seeing that in this market, there's still a jostling around for the vessels, and the countries for days that are being sold so maybe in the next two to three years you see that and then you see some leveling off.
DANIELA MAOATE-COX: What are some of the main threats to this scheme?
TA: Well over the years, some of the main threats are what I call, threats above the water, one of the threats we've been able to write off is the proposal coming from some quarters to replace this Vessel Day Sscheme with a catch based theme and thankfully PNA ministers have reiterated that they're not going to change the VDS.
DM-C: Where is that pressure on the PNA members coming from to change how they function?
TA: Well it came from New Zealand last year at the Forum, it came from the Forum leaders so we've been able as I said to allay some of those pressures. I think we've sort of gone over that bridge right now and there's been a very unqualified support from all the PNA ministers that for now, the Vessel Day Scheme is going to be around so the parties to the Nauru Agreement countries are not going to be replacing the Vessel Day Scheme. It's driven largely last year from New Zealand and I think they've also come around and changed to realise that they're not going to see a shift away from the Vessel Day Scheme in the forseeable future.
DM-C: So the PNA will be able to resist this pressure?
TA: Yep, as I said they have, and when the time comes, and when they're ready they'll be probably willing to look at other systems but look it's taken 16 years to get to this place and so it's not a matter of just saying you can move from one system to another and expect that you'll still get the same level of success.
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