On Saturday, June 25, South Pacific Tuna Corporation and The Global Companies, (Ocean Global, LLC, Sea Global, LLC, and Pacific Global LLC) along with American Tunaboat Association president Brian Hallman, United States Government officials from the State Department and National Marine Fishery Service, Delegates from American Samoa and the Pacific Island Parties (PIP’s), and Directors of the Pacific Fisheries Forum (FFA) concluded the 18th Session of South Pacific Tuna held over the past 7 years. The resulting six-year agreement extends the 27-year-old Tuna Treaty through 2023, and guarantees the US Fleet fisheries access to the South Pacific waters.
The cornerstone of the agreement is continued US support to all the 16 Island Nations in the amount of USD 21 million, as well as US Fleet contribution to pay for a reduced number of multilateral days of access with continued US management oversight to ensure Flag state responsibilities are met.
“After a long week of difficult talks, the parties made progress in addressing the ‘commercial’ and ‘technical’ issues that had prohibited us from moving forward during the talks held in Fiji, and a clear path was agreed to by both sides,” said J Douglas Hines, Executive Director of SPTC and partner in the Global Fleet.
“Establishing a new operational structure under the Treaty was critical for the US fleet as it provides needed flexibility by reducing multilateral days and allowing vessels to work directly with individual Governments in access their EEZ on a bilateral basis for the future,” he said.
“The number of fishing days and price per day were established for the first four years. US Government was able to work closely with Industry in order to respect the PIP’s sovereignty while the PIP’s recognized the need for US NOAA need to ensure their oversight of Flag State responsibilities.”
The revised Treaty will need approval at higher levels of both of the governments involved before it is official.
“We want recognize the efforts of the delegation form the US Department of State led by William Gibbins-Fly from the office of Marine Conservancy, who has been engaged in this process for 17 years, and of course the group from the State Department, NOAA , local diplomatic corp. and Delegates from American Samoa. Also, from the PIP’s key members of Fisheries and Foreign office attendees representing the importance of a continuing partnership between all our Nations,” Hines said.
Media inquiries may be directed to Margie Newman of Intesa Communications Group: margie (at) intesacom (dot) com | 619-995-3078.
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