Nauru celebrates greater participation in the tuna fishery

YAREN, 20 AUGUST 2018 (NAURU GOVT) – Commencement of operations by two purse seine vessels flying the flag of Nauru signifies the country’s first ever participation in the lucrative Pacific purse seine fishery.

The two vessels – Naoero Star and Naoero Sun – left Suva, Fiji on their maiden voyages under the Nauru flag.

Baron Waqa, President of Nauru, expressed support and congratulations for this development on behalf of the country.  “Nauru is blessed with vast tuna resources – our waters are rich with skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye, and yet so far we have not been able to develop our own fleet of fishing vessels to catch that tuna.”

That situation has now changed through a newly minted Joint Venture agreement between the Republic and Korean fishing company Silla.  Nauru’s two new vessels have previously carried the Korean flag and are known performers in the fishery.

“Having these vessels flying our flag and operating under our control presents significant opportunities to deepen our participation in the fishery and to continue the already impressive trend that Nauru has established of growing and diversifying the benefits we gain from our fisheries resources,” said President Waqa.

This year is a big one for Nauru, in between celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Independence and hosting the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ meeting in only a few weeks’ time, Nauru is also the chair of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA).  “Our chairmanship of the PNA at this time is significant,” said President Waqa.

“The collaboration amongst PNA countries has been vital to seizing a far greater share of our fishery benefits and has paved the way for our small domestic fleet.  Our fleet will not stop here, with at least one more vessel due to arrive by the end of the year and promising discussions underway on a potential similar arrangement in the longline fishery.”

Flagging fishing vessels also comes with weighty responsibilities under international law though.  “Nauru takes its obligations as a new flag State very seriously,” said Charleston Deiye, CEO of the Nauru Fisheries and Marine Resources Authority.

“We have invested very heavily over a long period of time to ensure that our legislation and policy is in order, that our management measures ensure national and regional sustainability, and that we have the tools and ability to undertake monitoring and enforcement on our vessels.”

The vessels will operate under the PNA Vessel Days Scheme, highly regarded internationally as having controlled and managed the Pacific purse seine fisheries at levels that are not only sustainable, but also that can generate high economic rents, which is the basis for developing countries like Nauru to be able to receive returns from the fishing industry that are critical to core Government budgeting.  Nauru will be supported by the PNA Office and the Forum Fisheries Agency in discharging their legal obligations to ensure that their new vessels comply with national and international laws.

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