US Tuna deal in need of overhaul:PNA
PNA not surprised by Kiribati deviation in Pacific - US tuna negotiations.
The eight Tuna rich countries that make up the Parties to the Nauru Agreement say they are not surprised by Kiribati's decision to withhold fishing days from a new deal with the United States.
The agreement set up in the 1980s this year saw a record breaking 90 million US dollar agreement brokered between the 17 Pacific Island member countries of the Forum Fisheries Agency and the American Tuna Fleet.
The Chief Executive of the PNA, Dr Transform Aqorau, says more flexibility is needed in the US - Pacific agreement.
He spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the significance of Kiribati's decision in the changing dynamics of the Pacific tuna fishery.
TRANSFORM AQORAU: You know there is a, there is a maximum of 8000 days that the US want for their vessels, and everyone has to contribute days. And that is what they are doing and remember that days are becoming more valuable now and so if their days are being bought by the other partners, then they can't give anymore days then they have and that is what Kiribati has said. While others might have days that are available and so they have made more days available for the treaty.
KOROI HAWKINS: Going back to the agreement itself, is it the view of the PNA that it needs to be modified or is it fine the way it is?
TA: That is what we have been saying, that the US fleet should continue to fish under the treaty, but for countries not to be tied down. Because what has happened in the past, is that they are forced to give up days to the treaty, when they could be getting better value for the, for their days from other fishing partners. Which they are not allowed to do now, until Kiribati has done it. But I know that Cook Islands also sold some days bilaterally to the US. So I think you are going to see from 2016 onwards much more flexible arrangements.
KH: Where is the current 90 million US deal at? Has it been signed? Is it complete? Have people put up days? Its just there is a lot to it and I want to get it right.
TA: It has been signed, that's from first January next year that's going to be the treaty, 90 million for 8300 days. 300 from the non-PNA and then there is 8000 from the PNA and the 8000 days is going to be contributed. And that's the contribution, 300 from Kiribati, the others are giving in days. But the only difference being that the other pool days cannot, cant be fished in Kiribati's waters. But all I can say is now they have more options, because they are in a much more powerful position. The vessel day scheme, the purse seine vessel day scheme, has significantly transformed the power play in this fishery. Whereas before it was the fishing vessels and all that, who have been dictating the fishery, now they are in control of it. But having said that, can I just say that they, its still work in progress. I would like to see countries move away from access agreements looking at tendering, looking at auctions, looking at market based mechanisms. Those are the things that you, they can do now. But the tool that they have allows them to set the pace rather than having to go and negotiate. So its still a cultural change, its still a generational change that we need to get over.
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