PNA to adopt tuna management policies

Tuna Scientists will be delivering a report on the status of tuna stocks in the region

From 21-23 June, fisheries ministers from nations signed up to Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) will adopt policies governing the western and central Pacific tuna fishery.

Officials from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Tokelau have already attended preparatory fisheries management meetings in Majuro, Marshall Islands, ahead of the annual PNA Ministerial Meeting.

“The annual PNA Ministerial meeting will hear stock assessments on the state of all tuna species in our fishery, updates on business developments and the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS), and then adopt policy to guide conservation and management of our fishery,” said Ludwig Kumoru, CEO of the PNA. “PNA members have for years been leading efforts to sustainably manage our fishery for the benefit of current and future generations.”

At the meeting in the Marshall Islands, which control waters where 50% of the world’s skipjack tuna is caught, scientists with the New Caledonia-based Pacific Community (SPC), which oversees stock assessments in the region, will be delivering a report on the status of tuna stocks.

Attendees will set the number of fishing days for both purse seine and longline vessels (known as “total allowed effort”) under the Vessel Day Scheme for 2018 and 2019, as well as agreeing on the “parties allowed effort,” which is the number of days allotted to each of the eight members and Tokelau under the VDS.

They will also review PNA proposals to address the expiring Tropical Tuna Measure through the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. The PNA will review harvest control strategies for tuna specifies in the fishery with the intention of making recommendations to the WCPFC for a conservation measure to replace the one expiring this year.

There will be a review of value-added business initiatives, including PNA’s Pacifical co-brand with large food businesses such as John West in Australia that is marketing sustainably caught tuna from PNA waters that is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. PNA forecasts over 100,000 tons of skipjack caught in this sustainable manner will be sold in 2017 as market demand continues to increase.

PNA stated that various organisations representing tuna industry interests have recently targeted PNA’s free-school fishery for objection and criticism during a regular review process this year. PNA is responding to the industry challenges of its MSC-certified fishery and will brief fisheries ministers on developments.

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