CEO of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), Ludwig Kumoru says PNA is still faring well despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Pacific journalists in a zoom session by the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS), Kumoru says boats are still taking up the same number of days as before COVID-19.
“So nothing has really affected us”, Kumoru says.
He says only some countries have stopped boats going into their ports.
“But those boats have shifted to other ports like Marshall Islands to PNG to FSM”.
He says in a way, COVID-19 hasn’t really impacted PNA’s operations in Fisheries.
PNA’s focus is to sustainably manage tuna is the Vessel Day Scheme (VDS). The PNA Vessel Day Scheme (VDS) sets an overall Total Allowable Effort (TAE) limit on the number of days fishing vessels can be licensed to fish in PNA Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) per year.
Each country is allocated a share of the TAE for use in its zone each year. These VDS days can be traded between countries in cases where a country has used up all its days while another has spare days.
Kumoru says now PNA is making up to $500 million.
“It used to be about $60 million some 10 years ago when we started and eventually it increased to $500 million”, Kumoru says.
The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) controls the world's largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery. Purse seine is a large wall of netting deployed around an entire area or school of fish. Once a school of fish is located, a skiff encircles the school with the net. The lead line is then pulled in, "pursing" the net closed on the bottom, preventing fish from escaping by swimming downward.
Purse-seine fishing in open water is generally considered to be an efficient form of fishing. It has no contact with the seabed and can have low levels of bycatch (accidental catch of unwanted species).
PNA also controls around half of the world’s global supply of skipjack tuna, the most commonly canned tuna.
Meanwhile local fisheries expert, Dr. Transform Aqorau says the development of PNA is threaded through many of the tuna conservation and management tools used in the region today.
“They include the Vessel Day Scheme for purse-seine and longline fishing vessels, and the Fisheries Information Management System (FIMS). They also include the achievement of the first Marine Stewardship Council certification in the region, and the related set up of the Pacifical tuna-marketing brand”.
Aqorau made this statement when interviewed by Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University.
Solomon Islands is a member country of the PNA including the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Tuvalu.