Solomons’ tuna fishing grounds may close


As part of a regional effort to control fish stocks within the western and central Pacific basin, the Solomon Islands Government may have to close off fishing grounds.<!--more-->

A limit on fishing days has been set for 2013 by the eight-member Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), comprising the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu. The PNA controls the open waters where 70 per cent of the Pacific Ocean’s skipjack tuna is caught.

PNA has established a 50,000-day limit for fishing this year to ensure the fishery is managed sustainably and to keep the price of tuna stable on the world market.

Since PNA manages the skipjack industry through a “vessel day scheme,” which divides the days among the members, when one country reaches its limit, it must either close its fishing grounds or trade for extra days from another PNA member country, the latter of which would allow the country in question to reopen its waters for fishing, according to the Marianas Variety newspaper.

However, if commercial fishers use up their allotted days in the first six-to-eight months of 2013, there may be no fishing days left at all and the fishery might have to be closed. The Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries says they are aware of the situation and are monitoring it closely.