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SIDS Ready To Defend Joint Position On Tuna

The FFA governing council has decided to renew efforts to ensure that the WCPFC’s founding commitments to Small Islands and Developing States (SIDS), and the sustainable management of tuna stocks, are met. Pacific Island states and territories called for the Commission to get back to its founding promises as part of a Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) ‘FFC88’ meeting in Australia last week.
The five day negotiations were focused on what is to come at the larger Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) meeting which is taking place in Cairns this week. This will add distant water fishing nations and other interested parties into a mix of agendas.
James Movick, FFA Director General, said: “The WCPFC10 meeting is expected to be intense and contentious with many distant water fishing nations resisting attempts by coastal states to improve the management of the tuna resource and reduce bigeye tuna mortality. However, the preparation undertaken by Pacific Island governments during FFC88 should place FFA members in a strong position to achieve positive outcomes.”
The key outcomes emerging from FFC88 provide the basis for the Forum Fisheries regional positions to WCPFC10 and include:
A new Conversation Measure for Tropical Tuna – Members agreed to continue to support the joint PNA/Japan/Philippines proposal designed to reduce bigeye tuna mortality during 2014-2017, while still allowing for SIDS to develop targets, transfer of vessels to SIDS and increased economic benefits from the purse seine tuna fishery.
Enhancing the WCPFC process for consideration of the special requirements of SIDS – members endorsed the work of the Marshall Islands on a template of questions to assess proposals at the Commission in order to ensure there was no disproportionate burden to SIDS in their application or implementation.
Reductions to shark mortality rates – the FFA proposal includes strategies that will mean minimal disruption to the fishing industry.
An amended measure for South Pacific Albacore – a one year amendment that would prevent an increase of catches, particularly on the high seas.
A new Conservation Measure for Daily Catch and Effort Reporting – requirement for vessels fishing on the high seas to report operational data on a daily basis.
Closure of the Eastern High Seas Pocket – suspected of being used to avoid tighter controls on IUU fishing in the adjacent coastal states.
Fishing vessel standards – agreed to support a USA proposal on Standard Specification and Procedures for fishing vessels.