Pacific island countries want fair deals

As early as the 1990s Pacific Island Countries have been pushing to get a fair deal for their fisheries resources from big fishing nations outside of the region.

There is Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States of America, to name the main ones.

photo by melastmohican

Last month, Papua New Guinea pulled out of talks by the countries of the region with the biggest tuna resources with the US to review the US price tag of $US2-billion to fish in their waters, according to Pacnews

The group wanted the treaty to be reviewed arguing the US was earning around $US200-billion in value added products from the catch, but giving the countries only $2-billion.

This is only one example, as Pacific island states focus on tuna resources for economic growth at the same time that powerful countries around the region are doing the same, says Pacnews.

Bigger countries outside the region are being faced with depleting tuna resources so they are now looking to the South Pacific island countries.

The 14 members of the South Pacific Forum have the Forum Fisheries Agency and SPREP which are tasked to help provide assistance in this field including advice and policy development for management of their resources.

Each of the countries also has a Department of Fisheries which acts as the link between the governments and the regional organizations to facilitate development programs.

With Vanuatu’s rapidly increasing population, a large number live in the two main towns, but over 70% live in their traditional lands and are heavily reliant on subsistence from the land and the ocean.

In his Vanuatu Fisheries Profile, Moses John Amos, Director Fisheries, said  catch methods used by these people include gill netting, capture by hand and spear gun and, in more remote areas, traditional techniques including bow and arrow, spears, traps and traditional poisons.

“Subsistence capture is largely of fish, but also includes substantial amounts of shellfish (34 percent) and lobster (20 percent).

“Cash income is also provided at the local level through collection of sea cucumbers, trochus, green snails, crustaceans and aquarium fish.”

Through the FFA and SPREP, a number of development partners are contributing many ways to improve the economic benefit of the countries of the region from their fisheries resources. What is your feeling about this issue and what else do you think could be done to help in this respect?

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