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VIET SEAFOOD

“EU Tuna Deal With Kiribati Should Be Rejected”

The European Parliament fisheries committee should reject a negotiated deal between the European Union (EU) and Kiribati, one of the Pacific Island Nations falling under the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) name, allowing ten Spanish flagged vessels to fish in Kiribati with very limited regulations, says Greenpeace.

According to Seni Nabou, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Political Adviser, the deal makes no explicit reference to the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) which has been implemented and regionally agreed by the eight PNA nations, where vessel owners can purchase and trade days fishing at sea in areas subject to the PNA.

The purpose of the VDS is to constrain and reduce catches of target tuna species for sustainability, and increase the rate of return from fishing activities through access fees paid by Distant Water Fishing Nations (DWFNs).

However, in the fisheries agreement negotiated between Kiribati and the EU, no requirement has been stated that the regional scheme applies to the ten Spanish vessels being purse seiners and longliners, and instead Nabou outlines that the vessels are “allowed to fish as many days per year as they wish to, with no requirement to comply with sustainable limits on their fishing effort.”

Nabou added: “Either the pressure on Kiribati’s officials by the industry or EU officials was too much to bear or other perks sweetened the deal tempting Kiribati’s officials into underselling the value of their nation’s tuna resources.”

It is thought that if the agreement is not rejected by the fisheries committee of the European Parliament, which has already been scathed my Members of the European Parliament and the European Parliament’s development committee, the EU will walk away with a bargain price for the opportunity to fish. Nabou outlined that countries in the PNA region recently benchmarked a price of USD 6,000 for each day at sea, but if EU vessel activity was converted into days-at-sea they would only be paying an estimated equivalent of USD 3,600 per fishing day.

The PNA countries together have 25 percent of the world tuna stocks in their waters, holding almost 50 percent of the global skipjack share.

The European Parliament fisheries committee is due to give its opinion on the deal in October and Greenpeace feels that the agreement should be rejected unless the EU and Kiribati agree to the VDS and set an appropriate price for the opportunity to spend days at sea in this lucrative fishery. 
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