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Pacific Islands Group Together To Get Higher Tuna Prices

A group of Pacific Islands is grouping together to force Asian nations to pay more for tuna caught in the region.

The Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority Director, Glen Joseph says the eight nations that control the richest tuna fishing grounds in the Pacific are establishing their first headquarters in the Marshall Islands.

The move is to put a notice to Asian fishing nations - that they want a bigger share of the US$3 billion US dollars annual income generated from tuna caught in the Pacific.

Over the past year, the “Parties to the Nauru Agreement,” or PNA, countries have flexed their muscles, seeking to enforce tuna catch limits to prevent over-fishing while increasing the revenue flowing into the islands from the fishing industry.

Currently Pacific islands receive less than five percent of the total catch value, or about US$150 million a year.

Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority Director, Glen Jospeh says fisheries ministers from the eight PNA nations — Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Palau, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands — voted earlier last month for the new secretariat to be set up in Majuro in the Marshall Islands.

Joseph says the Papua New Guinea government has committed a 1-million US dollars to develop the PNA Secretariat.

Joseph adds the establishment of the PNA Secretariat is not an effort to break up the Forum Fisheries Agency, or FFA, which has represented all the independent countries in the region since the 1980s, but is rather an effort by PNA to fully establish itself.