A series of meetings in Fiji this week attempted to find solutions for Pacific nations reeling from the withdrawal of America from their tuna fisheries. The United States pulled out of the US Pacific islands fisheries treaty last month, which could deprive Pacific nations of US$89 million of income this year. At the end of the meetings, the Director General of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (F.F.A) James Movick, issued the following statement on the outcome of the meetings:
“All 17-member nations of the F.F.A, referred to in the U.S Treaty as the Pacific Islands parties, have engaged in intensive discussions over the last two days.
Their focus has been to identify options that will achieve the dual goals of allowing P.I.Ps to move forward with an arrangement for the U.S Treaty for 2016, while also mitigating the financial losses posed by a revision of the 2016 fishing arrangement to meet the U.S request for fewer fishing days.
These internal negotiations were difficult, as attempting to resolve third party conflicts often results in internal differences that must be overcome.
I am pleased to advise that following these considerations; Pacific Island Parties were able to develop a counter-proposal that they strongly believe meets the two objectives.
The Pacific proposal will be forwarded to the U.S as soon as possible, and it would be inappropriate to share the details until they have had an opportunity to consider it as this remains an active negotiation.
But the Pacific parties to the Treaty have been very mindful of the urgency of this matter and do not think it is in any Party’s interests for the fleet to remain tied up, and they took this into consideration in preparing a proposal they believe should satisfy the U.S without the need for any further negotiation.
Pacific Island Parties look forward to a speedy resolution so that licenses can be issued as soon as possible.”