4 Feb 2013

US in Pacific fishing negotiations in Auckland

5:33 am on 4 February 2013

Pacific fisheries officials are meeting a joint United States government and industry team in Auckland today for a series of fisheries treaty negotiations.

Time is running out for the US tuna industry to complete an agreement that will keep its boats fishing in the lucrative waters of the Pacific islands.

Johnny Blades reports

"American purse seiners are seeking an agreement to fish beyond June, when the current 10-year funding package expires. But they appear reluctant to meet the demands of the eight-nation Pacific islands bloc known as the Parties to the Nauru Agreement which controls waters where the majority of tuna is caught. The PNA has significant clout in driving price demands in negotiations with distant fishing nations, recently securing a tripling of annual fishing fees. The head of the PNA, Transform Aqorau, says the island countries don't want to be locked in to another ten year deal and that the US has to agree to licensing and conservation measures, like other countries, if it wants to fish in Pacific waters."