Cite common views on necessary tuna conservation and management activities in Western and Central Pacific Ocean
Contact: Erin Grandstaff and Charlie Patterson, +1 202-449-8368
Washington, D.C. – 5 May 2016 – The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) announced today that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a framework for mutual cooperation. The three-year MOU will establish a mechanism for working more closely together on shared activities to promote the sustainability of tuna fisheries, as well ecologically healthy and productive marine ecosystems, in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO).
ISSF and PNA share the view that there is a need to improve the conservation and sustainable use of tuna resources in the WCPO. ISSF and PNA also acknowledge the role that the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) plays in assessing and managing tuna populations in the WCPO. ISSF further recognizes that PNA members are responsible for implementing the decisions adopted by the PNA Ministers and WCPFC within waters under their national jurisdiction.
“The PNA has been committed to the adoption of harvest control rules in the WCPFC, has achieved the first ever Marine Stewardship Council certification of a purse seine tuna fishery, and has put into place strong monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) measures like 100% observer coverage, VMS and FAD tracking,” said ISSF President Susan Jackson. “We applaud and support these activities by the PNA, and advocate for similar programs across all tuna RFMOs and tuna fisheries. It is a natural next step that ISSF and PNA, who have worked alongside for some time now, have formalized a cooperative relationship,” Jackson continued.
ISSF and PNA will jointly work toward ensuring that WCPFC and the region have the necessary tools to improve the sustainability of the region’s tuna purse seine fisheries – from the improved and expanded use of e-monitoring and e-reporting technologies to the implementation of a harvest strategy to a mechanism to regionally manage capacity and other science-based activities.
“In the spirit of our formalized partnership with PNA, as well as ISSF’s ongoing recognition of developing coastal nations and their development aspirations regarding tuna operations, ISSF is modifying certain conservation measures that may impact developing coastal countries,” said Jackson.
ISSF adjusts its capacity measure to allow ISSF participating company purchases from vessels flagged to PNA member countries that were built after the deadlines contained in the capacity measure, provided that they meet certain strict conditions. The terms of this special arrangement require that to qualify those vessels must be: registered in the WCPFC record of authorized fishing vessels; registered on the ISSF ProActive Vessel Register; fishing within the PNA purse seine Vessel Day Scheme management system; and authorized to fish only within the WCPFC Convention Area. ISSF also added a new conservation measure regarding investment in purse seine vessels. ISSF participating companies that are investors in any new vessels that meet all of the conditions of the above special arrangement must buy out and scrap existing capacity up to the percent of capacity of the new vessel that corresponds to their ownership interest in the new vessel. You can review these updated conservation measures 6.2(b) and 6.2(c) in their entirety on the ISSF website: https://iss-foundation.org/knowledge-tools/publications-presentations/conservation-measures-commitments/.
“Tuna is our greatest natural resource and partnerships with foundations like ISSF are opportunities to build the tools and capacities needed to sustainably manage these resources,” said PNA’s Dr. Transform Aqorau. “PNA has long been a leader in tuna sustainability, and the tools advanced through this partnership will strengthen our progressive approach to the successful management of our tuna stocks. We are pleased to partner with ISSF.”
The agreement between PNA and ISSF is a non-exclusive agreement, and preserves the right of both organizations to work independently or with other organizations on the same issues. Implementation of the MOU will be overseen by Susan Jackson, President of ISSF and the Chief Executive Officer of the PNA Office.
About the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF)
The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) is a global coalition of scientists, the tuna industry and World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, promoting science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reducing bycatch and promoting ecosystem health. To learn more, visit their website at iss-foundation.org.
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) controls the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery. PNA Members are Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
Global leaders in tuna conservation and management, many PNA conservation measures are world firsts – such as high seas closures to fishing, controls on Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), protection for whale sharks and the 100% coverage of purse seine fishing vessels with observers. No dolphins are caught in PNA waters and the PNA is actively involved in limiting bycatch of other species.
In 2011, the PNA fishery for skipjack tuna caught without using FADs was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as sustainable, creating the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery.
About 50% of the global supply of skipjack tuna, the most commonly canned tuna, is harvest in PNA member’s waters.
The focus of PNA efforts to sustainably manage tuna is the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). PNA members agree on a limited number of fishing days for the year, based on scientific advice about the status of the tuna stocks. Fishing days are then allocated by country and sold to the highest bidder. In this way, Pacific Islanders reap economic benefits from their sustainable management of tuna.