4 Feb 2013

PNA calls for new approach to regional fishing deals

4:17 pm on 4 February 2013

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement says it wants to phase out treaties and access agreements as a means of licensing vessels to fish in Pacific waters, because it often means compromises that don't benefit the region.

Pacific fisheries officials are meeting US government and industry representatives in Auckland to negotiate the extension of the treaty that will allow the US tuna industry to keep its boats fishing in the Pacific.

The head of the PNA, Transform Aqorau, says the US wants to be able to say no to conservation measures Pacific Island countries want to take, arguing that because they are entering a treaty agreement, they should be treated differently from the other fishing fleets.

Mr Aqorau says this is why treaties and access agreements have had their time in the region, and alternatives like direct contracts need to be explored.

"So that these people don't dictate to you the terms and conditions under which they fish in your waters, but you set the rules and regulations and you simply say to them, these are rules under which you will fish in my waters. It's just like the immigration rules that we have to comply with when we go to their countries."

Transform Aqorau of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement