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Parties to Nauru Agreement 8th Ministrial Meeting 2013 Minimize
Parties to the Nauru Agreement - Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Press Release

Minister’s Opening Remarks

 

 Thank You Chairman,

Hon. Umiich Sengebau, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism of the Republic of Palau, colleague Ministers of Parties to the Nauru Agreement Parties, Observers, Non-Governmental Organizations, Media personnel, Ladies and Gentlemen. 

The Government and the People of Papua New Guinea together with my colleague Ministers from Parties to the Nauru Agreement member countries wish to convey our sincere gratitude and thanks to the Government and the People of the Republic of Palau for hosting this important meeting. We recognize the warm hospitality extended to us upon our arrival on your beautiful shores.

Chairman; 

I wish to congratulate you on your election into office of your new government and for hosting this important meeting. 

I also wish to commend Palau for being the Chair at both the Ministerial and Officials Level for the previous year and welcome Solomon Islands as next chair of the PNA. 

The Government and People of Papua New Guinea recognize and acknowledge the overall collective progress made by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) in maximizing benefits from its fishery resources, especially from tuna for the sustainable livelihood of its people. 

With that in mind our role is to make those important decisions that remain focused on our commitment of delivering to our people and working together to maximize the benefits that can be attained from our fishery resources. 

We must not compromise the ability of our future generations in benefiting from the stocks that our generation currently enjoy. It is an issue of Inter-generational Equity rather than the Race to Fish where conservation and sustainability become secondary to the demands of our present appetite. 

Furthermore, I acknowledge the lead up meetings on Technical, Scientific and Sub-Regional Access Arrangements, which set the fundamental areas of cooperation for our countries in achieving our broader common objectives. 

Schemes such as the PNA Vessel Days Scheme (VDS) has set a market-based approach for longline and purse seine vessels to fish in our region. They are licensed based on the conditions we collectively set and are legally bound to comply with these conditions ensuring that we receive maximum return from our tuna resource. 

An issue we wish to raise on fishing activities that defines a day is based on searching and setting. All other associated activities on that day are not fishing days. We understand this has been already endorsed by the Vessel Days Scheme Committee. 

Colleague Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen; 

Our ongoing commitment with the United States of America under the US Multilateral Fisheries Treaty will adopt new set of fishing conditions for their vessels to fish in our waters subjected to the PNA Vessel Days Scheme and our respective National Laws. 

Continuing from our Leaders Decision in Cook Islands and Port Moresby in 2012, we are anticipating this meeting would finalize outstanding issues on US fishing interests in our region in terms of the Vessel Days and Number of Vessels and the distribution formula on the value of the treaty. 

We have now seen a new twist to the minds of the members of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement. The parties are now realizing the value of the days that will now destabilize the solidarity of the PNA grouping. We are witnessing this through Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Arrangement and United States Multilateral Fisheries Treaty (UST) arrangements where the days used to come of the top of the Parties Allowable Effort (PAE). But now when we got into the idea of allocating days to parties to allocate back into the pool, it creates a disparity in the distribution of revenue whereby we see bigger component of the revenue is shifted to the day and lesser revenue is derived from where the fish is actually caught. e.g. $5,500 for those who contribute days into the pool while only $3,000 for where the fishing activities takes place. So it is best to stick to allocation of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Arrangement and United States Multilateral Fisheries Treaty (UST) off the top. 

We also have other Development Partners who are either already fishing or are interested to fish in our Region and are currently assisting us in our development aspirations including investments to our respective countries. We recognize their efforts therefore it is imperative for us to give them some degree of cooperation and flexibility in terms of fishing opportunities in our waters. This means we must re-prioritize our access arrangements and commitment with them. 

As the overall fishery resource declines, price will signal that declining trend over time. Therefore we should expect less fishing opportunities while the cost rises.  And as such, the compensation of fishing opportunities must be consistently set to where the fishing activities take place so that those affected can be equitably compensated.

Chairman; 

Papua New Guinea is happy to participate at this meeting and we remain committed to maximizing the benefits from our tuna and other fishery resources within the region. If there are any innovative means of achieving these maximum benefits, these must pursued collectively. 

We are responsible to our people and will ensure that we assist our population, especially those in the rural areas by channeling revenue generated from large-scale to small-scale fishing activities to address fundamental issues such as food security, income generating opportunities poverty and alleviation. 

Finally, we appeal to all leaders to set aside our personal differences and commit ourselves to remain as One Party, One People.  

Thank you

  

Hon. Mao Zeming, MP     

Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources

Independent State of Papua New Guinea

 
  
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