Chairman of the Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Technical Working Group and Director of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources Mr Edward Honiwala said their first meeting held in Munda, Western Province recently was a success.

This meeting brought together representatives from the eight PNA member countries to deliberate on issues relating to Longline Vessel Day Scheme and how it can be implemented by member countries starting in 2017.

Presentations were divided over two days with the first day dedicated to that of representatives from the fisheries industry, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Forum Fisheries Agency and PNA. The second day looked at the strategies for implementation and action plans till the end of the year.

Mr Honiwala said the meeting also looked at minimum license terms and conditions and reviewing the longline VDS Text.

Under the minimum license terms and conditions, all vessels are required to register on the Vessel Day Scheme register which allows all vessels to be monitored on the Fisheries Information and Management System (FIMS).

“With this system, we can have control over the actual fishing days by monitoring the fishing vessels’ activities within our EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone),” he said.

The meeting also looked at the possible minimum benchmark Vessel Day Scheme price per day and the recommended minimum bench mark price will be given to the PNA Ministerial Meeting in Christmas Island, Kiribati later this month (July).

The meeting also looked at ways to improve and effectively monitor longline vessels’ operations in the PNA waters. One option is to implement e-monitoring whereby vessels are installed with cameras.

Mr Honiwala told the other PNA countries, that Solomon Islands had done a trial on e-monitoring in the last two years and saw it as a tool to deter IUU fishing in the longline fishery.

Meanwhile, a follow up meeting by the same technical group has been planned for October and it will again be held in Munda, Western Province.

That meeting will look at how far member countries have progressed in terms of their preparation for the implementation of the Longline Vessel Day Scheme in 2017.