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Pacific Islands reject EU proposal on trade data

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Pacific Islands reject EU proposal on trade data

Pacific islands rejected a proposal made by Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) at the annual meeting in Fiji, which would have given distant water fishing fleets an unfair competitive advantage in negotiating fishing access agreements. The proposal was submitted by the European Union (EU) as a “conservation and management measure on fisheries access agreements information” to increase transparency of fisheries access agreements. It would have required the filing with the WCPFC of detailed access agreement information by all Commission members that allow foreign-flagged fishing fleets to fish in their waters for species managed by the Commission. “We have nothing to gain by making trade information available to distant water fishing countries,” claimed Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) CEO Ludwig Kumoru, adding that if the proposal moved forward, it would undermine the commercial interests of member islands. For his part, Solomon Islands head of delegation Farrel Lasi told the WCPFC plenary that Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) members did not support the EU proposal, which also had support of the United States. Lasi said FFA members did not object to the proposal because they fear transparency and that the islands are already adequately transparent. “We provide transparency to the Commission in a number of ways,” he said. “(These include) through the provision of operational data on all the tuna fishing that occurs within our EEZs, through our publicly available laws and harmonized minimum terms and conditions, through practices that do not allow us to license vessels that are not in good standing on the FFA Register and on the WCPFC Record of Fishing Vessels, through sub-regional instruments like the PNA Third Implementing Arrangement, and through other provisions that go above and beyond the level of transparency offered by several other (Commission members),” the delegation head added. In his opinion, the proposal “is anti-competitive,” as there is a long history in this region of distant water fishing states using their economic and political powers to protect the commercial interests of their fleets, including colluding to undermine the interests of FFA Small Island Developing States members.

Source: http://www.fis.com/