13 Jun 2016

Pacific group says US abusing tuna rule

7:18 pm on 13 June 2016

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement say a new U.S. Government regulation violates a conservation measure on high seas fishing.

tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel

tuna on the deck of a Pacific fishing vessel Photo: Giff Johnson

The measure had been approved last year by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

But the PNA's outgoing chief executive, Transform Aqorau, says the US rule that came in last month aims to allow its purse seine fleet to evade the Commission's measure.

The US's National Marine Fisheries Service on May 25th allocated 1828 fishing days for the US purse seine fleet, but last year's Tuna Commission measure allowed for 1270 fishing days for the US fleet.

This measure had been endorsed by the US and other Commission members.

Dr Aqorau says the U.S. government came up with this figure by combining 558 fishing days from its exclusive economic zones in American Samoa and Guam with the Commission's limit of 1,270.

He says this is a superpower abusing a measure it agreed to six months ago.