Majuro, RMI – Marshall Islands Minister of Natural Resources & Commerce, Hon. Dennis Momotaro has refuted industry driven rumors calling into question the financial management and governance of the PNA’s Pacifical cv, joint venture.
This is ironic when over 90% of the sector including other MSC certificate holders continue working with Pacifical cv, and that PNG factories are now this year processing about 10% of PNA MSC in PNG for the EU market. Yet apparently the agents of one fishing company sees fit to feed fake news and false allegations to global media undermining the PNA region’s MSC initiative and it’s potential competition to their self certified trade in the EU .
Minister Momotaro currently chairs the PNA Association board which represents the 8 PNA member nations and Tokelau in the Pacifical cv joint venture. He explained that all eight PNA member governments and Tokelau each have their own government appointed representatives in the PNA Association and the Association has equal representation on the Pacifical Board which is made up of Directors from PNA and Sustunable bv. Pacifical cv accounts are independently audited every year in Holland and revenues are also included in the PNA Office audits. The audited accounts are also subject to approval by the respective Board of Directors annually including this year. Like any corporate entity, the accounts are not open to rival industry scrutiny and the accusations being tabled are clearly mischievous and commercially motivated.
While Minister Momotaro acknowledged that private companies may pursue their own MSC certifications as some have done in our region, he refuted recent industry led statements that suggested one PNA member government was looking to opt out of Pacifical and pursue their own MSC certificate joint with industry because of a lack of transparency in financial management or decision making in the joint venture. In fact, at the PNA Ministerial Meeting in Nauru earlier this month, the success of Pacifical cv was acknowledged and the Fisheries Minister of the country in question expressed his desire for PNA members to take a greater share in Pacifical cv jv.
Under the Pacifical business model, Pacifical maintains a premium for MSC certified freeschool skipjack and yellowfin now levied at 2% of the final invoiced value making it competitive in the market. The majority of the MSC premium (USD100- 150 / mt above FAD fish price) is not paid to the PNA but rather charged by the vessels under the scheme. Processors, brands and retailers also have margins as does MSC for logo licensing fees. It is disappointing that this is the latest of many ongoing attempts by some companies to take all the added value of MSC for themselves, at the expense of the PNA nations.
Following the PNA directors and Pacifical cv Board directive, buyers can now get Pacifical MSC certified free school skipjack and yellowfin, backed by arguably the most robust and comprehensive tuna chain of custody scheme in existence, with full traceability net to plate, and just a 2% service fee that makes it price competitive with self-certified free school fish, typically with nil coc.
“We have built a very successful regional joint venture that not only incentivizes sustainable free school fishing, but has put PNA island nations on the map , also helps to support the development of our fledgling domestic fishing industries, and we will continue to work together for the benefit of our people. If anything, such attempts by some players to undermine us, only strengthen our resolve to continue to work together to secure a more equitable share of the benefits for our people and our industry.”
Since its inception, the Pacifical joint venture has faced diverse opposition from those whose vested commercial interests are potentially being impacted by the PNA’s nations trade in MSC certified free school tuna. Earlier this year, following an independent adjudication that rejected all 24 objections lodged by the IPLNF, the PNA was recertified by the MSC for 5 years. This was the second time PNA was taken to adjudication in the MSC process by rival industry groups opposing vertical integration by the PNA nations, with the adjudicator ruling both times in favor of the PNA based upon the good governance of the fishery.
The PNA MSC certificate was the first in the world for an industrial purse seine fishery and remains the largest and most complex MSC certified fishery today, but it’s biggest strength is in the comprehensive chain of custody scheme. The fact that it is owned and administered by a coalition of 8 small island developing nations and the territory of Tokelau is testament to the vision and leadership of the PNA nations leaders. The joint venture between the PNA and Sustunable bv has traded over 130,000MT of MSC certified free school tuna caught in the PNA and Tokelau EEZs and traded under Pacifical Cv. Earlier this month, in another world first the Pacifical blockchain was launched to increase transparency of selected CoC data.