20 Aug 2014

Price of Pacific tuna vessel fishing days soars

12:09 pm on 20 August 2014

Officials with the Parties to the Nauru Agreement say daily fishing access fees in the Pacific have hit an all-time high of 13,000 US dollars.

The PNA has a minimum limit this year of 6000 dollars for a fishing day.

But earlier this month a trade of fishing days between Papua New Guinea and Kiribati resulted in a South Korean fishing company paying an additional 7,000 dollars on top of 6,000 dollars it had paid originally to fish in Papua New Guinea in order to gain access to Kiribati waters instead.

The record-setting price reflects the easterly movement of migratory tuna as the weather phenomenon known as El Niño begins to build in the western Pacific.

The changing ocean temperature during El Nino conditions pushes fish from the normally lucrative fishing grounds of PNG and Solomon Islands east to Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

These countries are members of the eight-nation PNA group which controls waters where over 50 percent of the global supply of skipjack tuna is caught.

The PNA manages the purse seine fishery through a vessel day scheme that caps the annual number of days available to distant water fishing nations at about 44,000 across its region.