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Action to restrict access to fishing grounds

MAJURO, MARSHALL ISLANDS, FRIDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2010: The Ministerial Meeting of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) which includes leaders from Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, today agreed to take action to restrict access to fishing grounds and so increase economic returns to its members.

Fisheries Ministers from PNA countries welcomed the recent UN Resolution on Fisheries and the explicit recognition of the special requirements of SIDS and their development aspirations and made the following decisions to advance economic development of PNA countries:

PACIFIC ISLANDER CREWING OF FISHING VESSELS: Ministers adopted amendments to the 1st Implementing Arrangement to the Nauru Agreement to implement a mandatory PNA crewing requirement of 10% on all purse seine fishing vessels licenced in PNA waters from January 1, 2012 which will be gradually increased to 20% over five years. Fisheries Ministers from PNA countries also discussed conservation and management issues relevant to the upcoming meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) from 6-10 December 2010 in Honolulu, US and made the following decisions:

CONTINUE HIGH SEAS POCKETS CLOSURES: Ministers reiterated their support for the current high seas pockets closures endorsed by WCPFC and reiterated their plans to introduce new high seas areas closures to purse seine fishing from 2011 which would close off an area of 4.5 million square kilometers to purse seine fishing.

ADVANCE STRATEGY TO MANAGE FISHING: Ministers reaffirmed support for the PNA Strategy for management of the tropical tuna fishery which includes maintaining the current WCPFC measure on bigeye and yellowfin tuna (which introduced cuts to fishing effort and controls on Fish Aggregating Devices or FADs) imposing additional high seas closures from 2011, consideration of additional FAD closures, and restricting the effort of US flagged vessels under the US fishing treaty with the Pacific Islands.

BACK EFFORTS TO PROSECUTE VESSELS FOR NOT CARRYING PNA OBSERVERS ONBOARD: Ministers supported the Federated States of Micronesia which is taking action regarding a Chinese-Taipei vessel fishing in national waters without a PNA observer in contravention of its access conditions. Ministers supported the Federated States of Micronesia’s efforts to take the vessel to court and agreed to pursue further regional action if necessary to ensure that the policy of the PNA to have fisheries observers on 100% of its purse seine vessels is complied with by all licensed vessels fishing in PNA waters.

The PNA are global leaders in conservation and fisheries management. Fish has always been vital for Pacific Island life and PNA currently controls 25% of the world’s supply of tuna.

M any PNA conservation measures are world firsts – such as high seas closures, controls on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and the 100% coverage of purse seine fishing vessels with observers. The PNA has no dolphin bycatch and measures to limit the impact of tuna fishing on sharks and turtles.


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