PNA bid for more control on longline fishing

by Ronald Toito'ona | 6 December 2016 | News


The 8 Pacific nations and Tokelau that make up the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) are seeking more control over the little-scrutinised longline fishing industry in the Pacific.
While purse seine fishing boats are required to carry an independent observer to report on th
The PNA is imposing its own measures on longline vessels and will ask this week’s meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to take further action according to Chief Executive Officer Ludwig Kumoru
Mr Kumoru told journalists covering the meeting the PNA will be looking at bringing the longline fishery under control using its longline Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) which comes into effect in PNA waters January 1, 2017.
“…we are requiring all vessels under the Vessel Day Scheme to be registered under the PNA on their vessel day registry.
“So every boat that is using the Vessel Day Scheme must register in the PNA registry as a form of good standing,” Mr Kumoru said.
The PNA boss emphasised that any vessel PNA waters operating in PNA waters without registration will be likely to face heavy penalties.
Over the past years, it has come to PNA findings that most longliners that are not owned and registered by Pacific Islands but other fishing nations outside of the Pacific itself – which is also a big issue for the PNA,” Mr Kumoru said
They are the ones fishing in the high-seas and no one is really monitoring them.
“….nobody monitors them. Their catches were unmonitored and nobody knows what they are catching, how much they are catching, how much they throw it out because they have to keep the most valuable fish.”
Mr Kumoru told journalists this activity needs to be controlled.
Currently, the PNA can not do much to stop Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing on the high-seas because rules for fishing there are set by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement includes Pacific Island countries that control the world’s largest tuna purse seine fishery supplying 50 percent of the world’s skipjack tuna (a popular tuna for canned products). They are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.
A PNA statement says the grouping has worked for marine conservation, taking unilateral action to conserve overfished bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including closures of high seas pockets, seasonal bans on use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), satellite tracking of boats, in port transshipment, 100 percent observer coverage of purse seiners, closed areas for conservation, mesh size regulations, tuna catch retention requirements, hard limits on fishing effort, prohibitions against targeting whale sharks, shark action plans, and other conservation measures to protect the marine ecosystem.