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Crewing Critical Issue In US Pacific Tuna Treaty Nego’s

While the Pacific island nations and the US have overcome some major hurdles together, there are still a few disagreements to solve before the US Pacific tuna treaty can be finalized in May. The issues mostly concern whether the US will get special treatment compared to other foreign fishing countries, something that their Pacific partners are keen to avoid because they want their rules applied equally across the board.
For instance, the US specifically wants to reference the number of boats under its flag (40 vessels) in the treaty, while the Pacific island parties see this as unnecessary since the region’s governing Vessel Day Scheme grants access according to fishing effort or the number of fishing days. The Pacific island parties have already agreed to give the US fishermen access to 8,300 fishing days in the region at  USD 63 million annually. Coming out at Usd 7590 per fishing day.
The US is also seeking an exception to the minimum Pacific islands crew requirement, which states that Pacific island fishermen make up at least 10% of all purse seine vessel crews. This is expected to increase to 20% over five years and the US wants flexibility in applying the rule. Instead of applying the rule to each boat, they want to apply it to their entire fleet.

Currently the crew on US vessels mostly consist out of about 1 to 4 US citizens, the rest of the about 36 crew members being foreigners, often of Taiwanese, Chinese, Philippine or other origin.

Earlier this month, the latest round of negotiations in New Zealand saw the US agree to follow the national fishing laws of the Pacific parties, a principle that is already followed by other countries such as Japan and Taiwan. 
The US are already getting a “better deal,” according to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), because the US treaty is a multilateral access arrangement, which means the US fleet has access to all 16 exclusive economic zones of the Pacific island parties, unlike other foreign fishing countries.
The current agreement expires in June. If no new agreement is reached then US vessels will get the same status as vessels from countries like Korea, Taiwan and Japan, which have no fixed amount of fishing days at their disposal, and no fixed price per fishing day either.