Director continues to battle for fishing vessels
Director of Marine Wildlife Resources Taotasi Archie Soliai, a Council member of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, continues his appeal for the
Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to recognize fishing vessels integral to the territory’s economy to be granted privileges given to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Participating Territories.
Taotasi, a Councilmember, attended an informal meeting last week with the Council and the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority to discuss longline fishery management components of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission conservation and management measures for tropical tunas.
Held at the WCPFC headquarters in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, workshop participants included individuals from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Parties of the Nauru Agreement (PNA), other Pacific Island countries, USA, Taiwan, and Korea.
Taotasi made an impassioned plea to the members at the workshop, particularly fellow Pacific Islanders, to recognize fishing vessels that are integral to the territory’s economy and be granted privileges given to Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Participating Territories.
American Samoa is seeking to have U.S.-flagged purse seine vessels that supply the cannery in Pago Pago be exempt from high seas limits and seasonal FAD closures. Other Pacific Island nations have utilized this exemption to optimize their fishery production.
Addressing the Commission, Soliai said, “The highest priority for American Samoa is to gain full recognition of the disproportionate burden we have borne as a SIDS / Participating Territory and to maintain a reliable supply of tuna for processing in our one remaining cannery.”
The WCPFC is meeting in December 2023 in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, to negotiate a new tropical tuna measure covering key tuna stocks of skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye. Nearly 60% of the global tuna supply is covered under the WCPFC’s tropical tuna measure.