Deputy Director-General of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Wez Norris has described the dispute between FFA member countries and the cancellation of 37 US Fishing vessel licenses to stop fishing in the Pacific waters as an ‘unfortunate situation’.
In an exclusive interview with SIBC News today Mr Norris says this will have a range of impacts on Solomon Islands and other Pacific Nations who are FFA members.
“Noe this obviously has a range of impacts to the Pacific Island Countries themselves including the Solomon Islands because we made that arrangement in 2015 in good faith. All of the countries went home and build that revenue into their government budgets and so on. And now we’re looking at a situation where there are 10s of millions of US dollars that won’t be flowing through to the countries.”
He adds, FFA is now trying to work out the best way forward that will secure the maximum amount of revenue to the Pacific Island Countries.
“So basically what we’re trying to do at the moment is to work out the best way forward that will secure the maximum amount of revenue to the Pacific Island Countries and allow those US vessels that are capable of fishing to get out there and doing it.”
FFA has refused to issue the US Fishing vessel licenses for 2016 which was effective on 1st January after some of the fishing vessels declared that they cannot afford to pay for their fishing days.
The US South Pacific Tuna Treaty is a 27 year old accord among 17 Pacific Islands Nations.