Flags belonging to P-N-A countries should not be used as cheap access to tuna stocks, says Finance Minister Rick Hou.
Minister Hou made the statement in his key address to open the thirty-third PNA, or the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, Annual Meeting yesterday in Honiara.
The Finance Minister said domestication and onshore investments are continuing, and PNA members have differing competitive advantages and ambitions.
Minister Hou however said certain arrangements, like the FSMA and the US Treaty on Fisheries, are not serving the best interests of PNA countries.
“I would suggest that while the use of boats is not a bad idea, overall, in fact this is undermining our development goals and economic opportunities. Our countries should not be damping ground for old relics or our flags used as cheap access to tuna stocks to feed offshore processing plants, which make the market too competitive for local producers.”
The Finance Minister also asked PNA officials to make the hard decisions needed to manage tuna resources sustainably for the region’s benefit.
“Again I urged you to make the best out of the next few days and hope to see the hard decisions needed to manage the resource sustainably for the region’s benefit and to act cooperatively, decisively and without fear, maintain a tight V.D.S and control the supply of cheap fish to our competitors. I believe in so doing we will maintain healthy prices, high catch rates to assist the viability of our domestic economies. I need not remind you that the fish is our future,” said the Finance Minister.
The PNA Meeting, held at the FFA Conference Room, ends today.