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    Thursday, September 20, 2018-9:04:05P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Regional News

Fisheries bloc to hold summit in Majuro

MAJURO — A summit early next month in Majuro will bring together leaders from the eight nations that control waters where most of the world’s skipjack tuna is caught.

Eight heads of state are expected to be in Majuro March 2 for the Parties to the Nauru Agreement talks on the future of the tuna industry in the central and western Pacific.

Click to enlarge
A Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority fisheries observer monitors off-loading of tuna from a purse seiner in Majuro.  Photo by Hilary HosiaA Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority fisheries observer monitors off-loading of tuna from a purse seiner in Majuro. Photo by Hilary Hosia

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and heads of state from Tuvalu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau are expected to join Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine in Majuro for the summit. This is the second leaders summit. The first summit was held in 2010 in Palau.

The PNA summit follows closely on the annual Micronesian Presidents Summit that is scheduled for the last several days of February.

“The summit will be a stock take for PNA,” said Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority Director Glen Joseph, who chairs the PNA group. “PNA leaders will look down the road to the next steps for us to pursue. Everyone knows the success of the vessel day scheme over the last 10 years. The summit will allow us to showcase our success and discuss how we aim to value-add through an integrated fisheries approach.”

The vessel day scheme has dramatically increased revenues for the islands from the purse seine fishing industry, from $60 million in 2010 to an estimated $450 million last year.

Joseph said the summit would ensure officials from the eight nations who manage fishery operations on a daily basis will have direction from the leaders and everyone will be on the same page. “We need to link the bottom up approach with high-level input from the leaders,” Joseph said.

He pointed out that to date, PNA has focused heavily on the purse seine industry with its vessel day scheme or VDS. More recently, it is expanding its VDS to the longline industry, working to develop and market sustainably caught tuna globally, and increasing its participation on the international front, including at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

“We are looking forward to hosting the PNA summit and to our leaders engagement in PNA, regionally and globally,” Joseph said.