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June 2012 Update - Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement
Members will recall that, following Forum Leaders’ 2009 directive and a joint meeting of fisheries and law enforcement / justice Ministers in 2010, negotiations have been in progress towards new legal arrangements for strengthened monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) mechanisms to protect regional fisheries.  A drafting group, established in 2010, is responsible for negotiation of a multilateral subsidiary agreement under the Niue Treaty on Cooperation in Fisheries Surveillance and Law Enforcement in the South Pacific Region (“Niue Treaty”).  The Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement (NTSA) will provide for: (a) the exchange of fisheries law enforcement data; (b) cross-vesting of enforcement powers to enable cooperative surveillance and enforcement activities; and (c) use of fisheries data for other law enforcement activities. 

The Chair of the Niue Treaty Drafting Group (NTDG) provided an update for PILON at the end of 2011, summarised here.

In November 2011 parties to the Niue Treaty endorsed the drafting instructions prepared by the Drafting Group. Since that time, the Chair and Secretariat have prepared a draft text of the agreement, based on the drafting instructions.  The draft text has been circulated and discussed by the Drafting Group and the Parties to the Niue Treaty.   

The draft text addresses the issues specifically requested by Leaders and Ministers ((a) – (c) above).  The current draft of the agreement includes the establishment of an information management system which will be maintained by the Administrator (the Forum Fisheries Agency) to enable cooperation in fisheries and law enforcement activities.  Each party to the agreement will be expected to provide a basic level of input into this system. The agreement also establishes a minimum standard of data and intelligence that is to be exchanged for fisheries purposes. These measures are included to reduce the need to develop further bilateral agreements.

The NTSA is currently on track to be finalised by the end of 2012. A workshop scheduled for August will consider the draft through practical scenarios to assess its suitability and produce a final draft of the agreement. Parties to the Niue Treaty will then be asked to consider and, if appropriate, adopt the final version of the text.   


PILON members may request further details regarding the progress of the NTSA or a copy of the draft from the PILON Secretariat.