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ISSF and PNA Establish Framework for Tuna Conservation

16 May 2016

GLOBAL - The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) have signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a framework for mutual cooperation on 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 recognises 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 per cent 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,” Ms 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 Ms 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.

“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.

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