Saturday, October 17, 2009

Parties to the Nauru Agreement meet in Tarawa

The 27th special meeting of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Management of Fisheries of Common Interest (usually known as the "PNA Group") is meeting in Tarawa, Kiribati, at the moment. The meeting will culminate next week in a Ministerial session, where a decision is expected on the form of the institution that will be set up to facilitate the specialised fisheries development aspirations of the PNA Group of countries*

The new PNA institution will facilitate issues such as
  • trading tuna fishing allocations (vessel-days) between members - possibly pooling of vessel-days and joint licencing of foreign tuna vessels;
  • PNA national observer placements;
  • PNA national crew placement aboard licenced tuna fishing vessels
Joint development options for PNA members in the tuna industry will be explored and it is expected that a PNA Tuna Corporation will also be established.

PNA members have already emphasised that this specialised institution will not weaken the role of the Forum Fisheries Agency. The PNA was set up in 1982 and has a long-established role as a specialised sub-group of FFA, concentrating on the management of the purse-seine fishery. However, FFA is an intergovernmental policy-level secretariat, and is not set up to run commercial operations. The new PNA institution will have a structure that facilitates joint commercially-oriented operations.

PNA members will continue to be FFA members and will will continue to draw upon the services that FFA provides to its members, and PNA members will continue to contribute to FFA decisions. The new PNA institution will be complementary and will actually strengthen the ability of the region to make effective decisions concerning the management of western and central Pacific tuna fisheries - decisions such as the FAD-fishing limitation, the high seas pockets closure, the requirement for 100% observer coverage, and the onboard retention of all purse-seine catch that were spearheaded by the PNA in 2007, supported by the FFA membership, and eventually promulgated across the entire WCPFC region.

A tuna purse-seiner

*The PNA Group currently consists of Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.

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