US ‘Can't Afford’ Tuna Deal Signed With PNA, December 7, 2015

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

US ‘Can't Afford’ Tuna Deal Signed With PNA Asking to reduce fishing days, catch rates slashing market

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, December 7, 2015) – The United States says it cannot afford to pay a 89.2 million US dollar tuna deal it signed with several Pacific countries in August.

Under the Parties to the Nauru Agreement's Vessel Day Scheme, the US fleet was given 5,700 fishing days, but now it's asking the PNA to reduce that to just 2,000 days.

The pay-by-day scheme has quadrupled PNA nations' incomes, but has allowed catch rates to hit new highs, which has seen the market price for tuna drop to half of what it was in 2013.

An official with the US State Department, Michael Brakke, says the situation isn't ideal for either side, but the falling price has made current fishing arrangements unaffordable.

"The economics are simply not good and our boats are struggling and going out of business and it's not that we are here by choice, we got here because the terms of offered by the Pacific parties are increasingly less favourable and we have reached a limit."


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