South Pacific Tuna Treaty Signed

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Seated (left) is his excellency Semisi Tavelangi, Fisheries Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga along with U.S. Ambassador Ms. Judith Cefkin (right). Standing in back from left to right are Mr. James Movick, South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency Director General, Mr. Russell Smith, U.S. Department of Commerce, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Mr. Michael Brakke, U.S. State Department, Office of Marine Conservation, and Ms. Alexa Cole of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration General Counsel, Office of Law Enforcement.

On December 3, 2016, after seven years of negotiations, the South Pacific Tuna Treaty was signed in Nadi, Fiji, extending the decades old agreement through 2023 and guaranteeing US Flag Tuna Fleet fisheries access to the South Pacific waters.

The Treaty includes 16 Pacific Island nations and the United States, was first entered into in 1988. It has been referred to as “the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy in the western and central Pacific.”

The foundation of the agreement is continued US support to all the 16 Island Nations in the amount of USD 21 million, as well as US Fleet contribution to pay for a reduced number of multilateral days of access with continued US management oversight to ensure Flag state responsibilities are met.

Going forward, the Treaty allows continued access to the exclusive economic zones of these 16 Pacific Island countries for up to 40 U.S. flagged purse seine vessels.  The U.S. purse seine vessels fishing in the western Pacific are some of the most modern in the U.S. fleet and the fishery represents the largest distant water fishery in the U.S. Ex-vessel landing can be in excess of half a billion dollars annually.

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Media inquiries may be directed to Margie Newman of Intesa Communications Group: margie (at) intesacom (dot) com | 619-995-3078.

Related Coverage

U.S. fleet gets long-term deal in tuna-rich Pacific
San Diego Union Tribune (June 27, 2016)

Negotiation breakthrough paves way for new US-Pacific tuna treaty
Undercurrent News (June 27, 2016)