Friday, 9 September 2011 8:02 AM

Shape Up or Ship Out: Aqorau

The Head of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) Secretariat, Dr Transform Aqorau, has issued a stern warning to fishing companies who refuse to work with the PNA in implementing some its stringent conservation and management measures.

In an address to this year's Pacific Tuna Forum in Palau, the PNA's director Dr Transform Aqorau emphasised that only those supporting both the economies of PNA countries and tuna conservation will be able to fish in PNA waters. "The message is simple, you either shape up or ship out," said Dr Aqorau.

Historically, the PNA have been concerned mainly with the management of tuna purse-seine fishing in the tropical western Pacific as concerns of over fishing threatened one of the last remaining fishing grounds in the Western and Central Pacific basin.

In October 2010, the eight member states Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) prohibited tuna purse-seine fishing in approximately 4.5 million square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean high seas, their combined Exclusive Economic Zones. The extension was unveiled at a meeting of the Technical and Compliance Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

The PNA has also implemented what is now commonly referred to as the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). The VDS essentially allocates fishing days to purse-seine vessels in PNA waters during any one calendar year. The total allowable days within PNA waters is set based on scientific data and advice.

The eight signatories to the agreement, which governs the management of their fisheries, are Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands.