PNA expects 2014 to show increased benefits for islands

Pacific News Center
7 January 2014

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) see 2014 as another groundbreaking year, with increased financial benefits for its eight island members, improved conservation of tuna, and expansion of its eco-label “Pacifical” in Europe and elsewhere. On January 1, fishing day fees rose to a minimum price of US$6,000, up from US$5,000 in 2012-13 — although fishing days sold for more than $6,000 in 2013. The new minimum benchmark price is part of PNA’s vessel day scheme that limits the number of fishing days sold to domestic and distant water fishing nations as a two-prong measure to conserve tuna stocks while increasing their value.

“The minimum benchmark price has served a good purpose since 2012,” says PNA CEO Dr. Transform Aqorau, who is based at the PNA office in the Marshall Islands. “But it has also been used to hold the price down.” In 2013, some fishing companies paid as much as US$7,000 per day and Aqorau is of the view that letting the market set the price will result in a significantly increased fishing day price than the current benchmark.

PNA’s vessel day scheme has resulted in a quadrupling of revenue accruing to PNA members in four years. In 2010, skipjack tuna caught in this region of the Pacific was valued at US$1.9 billion, with only US$60 million of that going to PNA nations. The total skipjack revenue for 2013 is estimated at about US$3.9 billion, with the PNA share rising to US$249 million. With fishing day fees rising to US$6,000 this year, PNA’s share of fishing revenue is expected to rise again.

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