Statement from J. Douglas Hines, on behalf the Global Companies and South Pacific Tuna Corporation:
“On March 1, the U.S. State Department received and executed a signed Statement of Intent with Fisheries Forum Association (FFA). This action represents an acceptance of a 2016 interim agreement with the 16 Pacific Island Nations, which allows the U.S. Fleet to fish under the current South Pacific Tuna Treaty.
“This effort involved many parties, but I would like to give special recognition to the State Department and key Ambassadors who worked alongside our industry to resolve this conflict. Further appreciation goes to Members of Congress for their true concern and action to ensure U.S. engagement in the Region is continued. Finally, we are highly appreciative of the efforts of the Island Nations to work to ensure a continued appreciation of U.S involvement.
“The Global Companies Fleet, which honored its original commitment made in in Brisbane of access fees along with other independent vessel operators, had been tied up for 60 days at a cost of millions. We are preparing to resume fishing operations and now have our first three boats scheduled to sail out of port heading to the fishing grounds with others hopefully within the week. With the fleet operating again we will be able to resume supply to factories in Georgia and California. This has been a painful process for us, and also costly to the US consumer.
“Now, we are challenged to restructure the future South Pacific Tuna Treaty. We at the Global Companies are committed to working closely with State Department, Congress, and the Senate Oversight Committee to develop a fair and equitable solution for all vessels operating under the U.S. Flag, which should remain a cornerstone of U.S. engagement in the Region. A restructured treaty should never have these obstacles again and remain a cornerstone of U.S. engagement in the region.”
Media inquiries may be directed to Margie Newman of Intesa Communications Group: margie (at) intesacom (dot) com | 619-995-3078.
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