24 Dec 2015

US tuna fleet could lose Pacific fishing licence for 2016

1:53 pm on 24 December 2015

The chief executive of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement says the US tuna fleet has till the end of the month to pay up or lose its fishing licence.

Transform Aqorau says under the vessel day scheme agreement the fleet has to pay US$17 million dollars per quarter for fishing days but it may come up short for its payments for the first quarter of 2016.

Mr Aqorau says the shortfall is an internal issue stemming from the Pago Pago based fleet of fishing vessels which have taken on more days than they can afford.

The head of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, Transform Aqorau, 2014.

The head of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, Transform Aqorau, 2014. Photo: RNZI / Monica Miller

But he says since the VDS deal is a joint agreement the entire US fleet could find itself with no licences in the start of the New Year.

"PNA would probably be happy to take back those days eventually and then sell them and trade them and auction them because the demand for days are still there. And so I think the PNA is probably pretty relaxed but dissappointed that after you sign an agreement and then you find yourself that the other party is not in a position to honor that agreement."

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