Tuna Market Intelligence - Issue 47

Issue 47, November 16, 2016

Your fortnightly report on trends and influencers on the global tuna market from the Pacific Islands


Prices for skipjack tuna on the Bangkok market remained steady at approximately $1400 mt at the beginning of November.

The end of the FAD closure may increase supply and drive prices downwards before the end of the year.

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Vessel Day use high despite FAD ban

Fishing effort was high in October, despite the ban on Fish Aggregating Devices, in PNA waters according to the PNA Secretariat.

Sales of fishing days also continued at a brisk pace, with some countries worried about selling all their days by the end of the year while others hold out for premium sales in 2017. While fishing in the Eastern High Seas and in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is suspected to drive down demand and prices for days, the trading going on illustrates most PNA countries are getting well over $10,000 for each fishing day.

Countries that allow fishing associations to bid for blocks of days appear to have less competitive trading of days than those that accept bids from individual companies and vessel owners. For example, for the past two years Papua New Guinea has accepted tenders only from individual operators and insists the companies/vessels can only bid up to 70% only of what their true effort in the previous year. This has created scarcity and meant they are able to get record prices of $15,000 USD a day for fishing in their waters.

Palau’s President holds on to the reins

Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. won a 4th term this month. A man whose approach to tuna fisheries has been described as a "mix plate", Remengesau has sought to maximize the value of their ocean in different ways.

The basis of Remengesau’s fisheries changes focuses on his famed Palau National Marine Sanctuary law. In 2015, Palau announced that it will close 80 percent of Exclusive Economic zone or 500,000 square kilometers and 20 percent   of Palau waters open for fishing which Remengesau said be can be a lucrative business for the locally chartered fishing association.  There is a transition period of five years for the PNMS’ implementation.

Remengesau defeated his brother-in-law Sen. Surangel Whipps Jr. by just 264 votes. The president got 5,124 votes while his challenger Whipps Jr. got 4,860 in the November 1 election. It was a tight race with Remengesau winning the election after the off-island votes were counted.

US makes token gesture

Just prior to the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission received a USD $20,000 contribution to the Special Requirements Fund (a fund set up to help small island developing states with the costs of implementing conservation measures). But this token gesture is not likely to remove the heat from the US which have been criticised in recent meetings. PNA members have taken aim at the US stating they fish with little regard to overfishing of bigeye tuna or contribute to domestic development.

Expect more tokens and slogans to fly as fishing nations and the Pacific get ready to gather for the Western and Central Fisheries Commission at its annual meeting in the first week of December. 

MPs question local fisheries spending in PNG

The Government has plans and policies in place to develop the country’s fishery industry, including the provinces, Fisheries Minister Mao Zeming said.

Zeming told Parliament this after a lot of finger pointing from Kavieng MP Ben Micah last week.

Micah questioned why the US$10 billion revenue from tuna was invested elsewhere instead of developing fishery industry in Maritime Provinces such as New Ireland.

Zeming told Micah to work with him as Government has a plan for Kavieng: “In Kavieng, we want to do beche de mer, Micah has to work closely with me, and there is a plan for Kavieng, plan for export policy we now have; now we are taking stock on all sectors of fisheries.”

Zeming reminded Parliament about the critical importance of fisheries and the development achieved so far. “We now have 5 tuna canneries in operation, 18,000 workers, of which 12,000 plus are women,” said Zeming.

PNG reviews onshore production

National Fisheries Authority (NFA) is undertaking a review and audit on tuna canneries.

NFA’s managing director John Kasu said the report would be released shortly.

Kasu said to attract more onshore production, facilities like wharves and cold storage facilities have to be in place. State agreements also needed review, he said.

Kasu pointed out while the number of canneries had increased they had not seen an increase in production onshore: “That’s a challenge we have and we will be looking at and trying to shift: this is a challenge for NFA. Direction from Government now is to try increasing the production on shore, offloading onto the number of factories that we have."

PNA members’ boats fish around 7000 days

By early November, sponsored boats fishing under the Federated States of Micronesia Agreement (an agreement amongst PNA countries to allow domestic boats to fish in each others’ waters) had used up 7000 days, stated the PNA Secretariat.

Most days were used in Kiribati 36% of days, while FSM and Nauru provided 13% of days each. Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu all had 9% of days each in their waters. Sponsored PNG flagged and FSM flagged vessels remained the largest fishers in other PNA countries waters.

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 marketintel@pnatuna.com or see more on www.pnatuna.com



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