Zone-based management stays: PNA


REGIONAL fisheries management through the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) will not change despite alternate views by the industry, according to Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) chairman Glen Joseph.
“Zone-based management works for conservation and business development,” Joseph said.
“PNA’s Vessel Day Scheme is contributing to sustaining tuna stocks and is providing improved quality of data on fish stocks and harvests.
“PNA members agree on the principle of zone-based management.
“Flag State rights are not appropriate or effective as a management tool in the western and central Pacific fishery. The VDS is effective in both conservation and economic development.”
Joseph said island expansion in the commercial tuna fishery could be seen by some as “a fight to be picked, but it’s a matter of survival for the islands”.
“From the increasing revenue, hospitals are being built, roads are being paved, and government operations are being funded,” he said.
“It’s not about cutting out the distant water fishing nations. It’s about developing the capacity of our islands to fish in our own waters and process the catch. Now we are going to do the same for the longline industry. We recognise it is a different fishery, but it has been left un-managed for too long.”
PNA chief executive Ludwig Kumoru said the goal was to expand the participation of the island members in commercial fisheries.
“If we have an opportunity to exploit our fishery, we’ll do it,” he said.
“Right now, we license distant water fishing nations, giving them the opportunity to fish in our waters, because coastal states haven’t yet built the capacity to fish.
“There will come a time when the islands have the capacity to expand fishing in their own zones, and others must be prepared to give way.”