PNA earns $470M in 2017, all major tuna stocks healthy

NORMA

MENEN, NAURU—At the 13th Annual PNA Ministerial meeting from August 1-2, PNA Ministers noted the continued success of the PNA purse seine Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). The PNA controls the fishing grounds in which about half of the world’s tuna is caught and the VDS has helped to increase PNA member fishery earnings from $60M before its implementation to $470M in 2017. The VDS has also contributed to sustainable management as all major western and central Pacific Ocean tuna stocks were found to be healthy in 2017.

PNA Ministers adopted several key measures designed to strengthen the economic and environmental performance of the region’s tuna fisheries, including the endorsement of a PNA Electronic Monitoring (e-moniotring) Program. This will build on a sub-regional E-Monitoring initiative spearheaded by the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, and Solomon Islands. E-Monitoring leverages advanced technology including video cameras to fill critical science and compliance monitoring data gaps in the region’s tuna fisheries. “This is a very positive step for PNA to take leadership in the development of the E-monitoring program for not just the PNA but also the region given more than half of the longline effort occurs in the high seas which has a poor record of monitoring and compliance. The installation of camera’s would improve validation of the catch and improve monitoring particularly of species of special interest” says Eugene Pangelinan, Executive Director of FSM’s fisheries agency.

The prohibition on high seas bunkering was also adopted by the PNA Ministers. In this respect, all purse seine vessels licensed to fish in PNA waters will be prohibited from bunkering (re-fueling) in the high seas starting Janurary 1, 2020 as this activity increases the risk of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Lastly, Kiribati joined the PNA longline VDS, joining the seven PNA members and Tokelau in the initiative, which was launched in 2014. Tokelau also joined the FSM Arrangement widening the operational area of the domestic fleets of PNA members.

Palau will host the next PNA Ministerial in 2019.