The Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority has changed the basis of its purse-seine fishery licence fee structure for 2012.
Instead of permitting foreign vessels to fish until the limit of Nauru's total annual allocation of vessel fishing-days is reached in return for a fixed licence fee - the so-called "Olympic" allocation - NFMRA is now allowing purse-seine fleets to purchase exclusive vessel-days fishing opportunities. These can only be used in the Nauru EEZ in 2012.
Under the previous system the Nauru EEZ had to be closed to most classes of purse-seiners when the Nauru zone allocation was reached. Under the new system vessels will be able to pace their fishing, and use their fishing days entitlements in Nauru at any point throughout the 2012 season.
The minimum price for a single purse-seine fishing day in the Nauru EEZ in 2012 is US$5,000, and NFMRA has put 1200 of these vessel-day fishing opportunities up for sale to any vessel-owner or fleet association that pays the access fee for a purse-seine fishing licence, and is willing to abide by the conditions of the licence.
The first block of days was sold yesterday to a fleet which has been increasing its effort in the Nauru EEZ in recent years.
An additional number of 2012 Nauru fishing days - over 400 - are being held in reserve for development purposes. NFMRA will control the use of these days and the disposition of the 12,000 tonnes of tuna that are are likely to result from them.
NFMRA will be inviting interested vessel-owning companies to become partners or contractors in harvesting and marketing Nauru fish caught under this development arrangement, and more details will be released later in December.