Earlier in March the PNA ministers issued a first formal statement to all fleets operating in the PNA waters encouraging them to start fishing MSC free school, but PNG has taken this beyond encouragement. It really requires all fleets licensed in its waters to start offloading MSC eligible free school catch to PNG based onshore processing plants. In this statement PNG communicates its strong commitment to promote the conservation of the tuna stocks in the PNA waters, create jobs for its people and to kick start the supply of PACIFICAL MSC skipjack tuna to consumers around the world.
One of the most important parts of this statement is the fact that the NFA have gone out of their way to stimulate and reward those fleets who will start going more for sustainable free school catch and land their fish locally, as a positive alternative to the unsustainable FAD catch, which mostly goes to foreign canneries.
To stimulate and support boat owners in this switch, PNG offers a discount on the access fees for the 2014 licensing period for those cooperating on Pacifical MSC skipjack tuna. This significant discount, along with the premium that fleet operators will receive from canners for their MSC school, should remove the obstacles for purse seiners to switch to sustainable practices, and at the same time reduce their fishing with the destructive FADs.
PNG does not want to end FAD fishing entirely. No, it only wants to get a healthy balance between the two catching methods, and mitigation measures when FAD fishing. We know when that balance is accomplished, the by-catch of sharks, manta’s, baby big-eye and baby yellowfin will have been drastically reduced and we will return to a balanced oceans eco-system again. That is what PNA, PNG and also Pacifical are going for!
Mr. Sylvester Pokajam, the NFA managing director also says “Companies not participating (in the MSC/Pacifical scheme) should immediately apply to join and training can be provided on a cost recovery basis”. He also announced that the requirement for MSC certified fish will be included in all the new access agreements for the next licensing period, which is 2014.The message from the markets and the people of the PNA to the industry is crystal clear: “The world needs YOU to catch sustainable MSC free school tuna and we need it NOW”!