Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 44
Your fortnightly report on trends and influencers on the global tuna market from the Pacific Islands. PDF version
Insiders at the Bangkok tuna market report prices remain stagnant.
Parties to Nauru Agreement (PNA) Commercial Manager Maurice Brownjohn said prices have remained atUS$1450 per metric tonne. Brownjohn said there was some market pressure to decrease prices.
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Free school fishing increases with FAD ban
Free school fishing has increased in Kiribati waters according to PNA observers. Strangely, this coincides with the Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) ban when catches are low.
"What I don't understand though is the phenomena that we are seeing this year, with high free school catches during the FAD closure, whereas, in previous years catch rates dramatically reduced and boats tied up during the FAD closure,” PNA Technical Adviser Dr TransformAqorau said.
He said this could be because skipjack tuna stocks are in abundance after El Nino and that boats are becoming better at targeting free schools of tuna and adjusting their operations during the FAD closure.
Tribute to a tuna warrior
There will be a notable absence the next time PNA ministers meet.
Tuvalu's Fisheries Minister Pita Elisala died whilst attending parliament last month.
He was Chair of the 9th PNA Ministerial Meeting and a strong champion for Tuvalu’s and regional fisheries.
"I feel a deep sense of sadness for we have lost in the space of 3 Months two influential Pacific Islanders, Nannette and now Elisala who have contributed immeasurably to the cause of our peoples,” former PNA CEO Dr Transform Aqorau said.
"They will be replaced and the work and legacy that they have left behind will continue to be exalted, but they will not be forgotten because each time we meet and discuss on any fisheries issues, we will simply be tracing their footsteps; walking the path they have also helped pave for us.”
Fishing tracking has new tool
The Guardian newspaper reported a new digital technology called blockchain has been used to track fish from source to market.
At present the buying and selling of seafood is tracked by paper records and tags on the fish. The new blockchain approach sees local fishermen send SMS messages to register their catch on the blockchain. This identification is then transferred to a supplier along with the catch.
The fish trial has been welcomed by Thai Union, the world’s biggest tuna exporter, that has faced its own sustainability criticisms.
“Traceability – which allows us to prove that our fish is caught legally and sustainably and that safe labour conditions are met throughout the supply chain - is vital if we are to interest consumers in the source of their tuna,” said Dr Darian McBain, director of sustainability at Thai Union.
Supermarket chain TESCO stopped supply of Thai Union tuna last year instead opting for fish certified as sustainable by Marine Stewardship Council and pole and line fish. MSC fish is available at its 656 fish counters across the UK and the label is found on 28 types of chilled prepacked fish.
PNG faces challenges
The tuna industry in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific region continues to face challenges in meeting overseas market demands, said Pete Celso, outgoing President of the PNG Fishing Industry Association and RD Canners Managing Director.
He urged countries in the Pacific to compete in the markets around the world: “We can work together to maximise benefits of fish caught in our area,” Celso said.
Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders urges President Barack Obama to support Vessel Day Scheme
In their meeting in Hawaii last month, Pacific leaders called on President Barrack Obama to support the PNA Vessel Day Scheme.
"Given the need to enhance Pacific Islands and US engagement, we call on the US Government to ensure policy coherence between US development policies and in particular fisheries policies. In that regard, we encourage the US to support the Parties to the Nauru Agreement and the Vessel Day Scheme,” said the leaders’ statement delivered by Solomon Islands.
Tuna Market Intelligence is an independent publication, sponsored by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) to unearth industry and market information from Pacific Island reporters and analysts. Reprint in the media from the PNA countries is free. All other reprints must be authorized. Contact us on email@example.com or see more on www.pnatuna.com