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2015 Update - US fisheries relationships with Pacific under the spotlight

The Forum Fisheries Ministerial Meeting underway in Tuvalu has been reminded of the complexity in resolving the US Tuna Treaty.
This was highlighted by Tuvalu’s Acting Prime Minister Namoliki Sualiki while opening the 11th Meeting of Forum Fisheries Ministers on Funafuti.
“The US Tuna Treaty, which has become increasingly complex and difficult, is also on your agenda. Despite 15 renegotiation sessions to date, there is still no firm agreement on the future structure of the Treaty.
Ministers will need to provide clear guidance to their officials participating in the next renegotiation session in August, especially in regard to the distribution of the US Government contribution to the Treaty,” he told the Ministers.

In addition, Namoliki said the Ministerial meeting will focus on a number of high-level strategic issues.
“These including international arrangements, such as the impacts on FFA countries that might result from the actions of other players outside of our region, such as regional fishery management organisations in other oceans, international efforts to conserve biodiversity in the high seas, or the planned review of the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea.  
Ministers will consider the ways in which FFA countries engage with the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission in a way that supports our aspirations to manage, develop and benefit from the resources that we own. You will discuss ways to raise the profile of fisheries with our own leaders at the South Pacific Forum, and deliberate on projections concerning the long-term future of fisheries in the region,” he said.  
He said the meeting this week will also review the functions of the Forum Fisheries Agency and discuss market access for fisheries products in the region.
“There are many important items on the agenda before you this week. As well as reviewing the FFA’s functions, performance and budget, there are a number of technical initiatives that will be put before you.
“These include issues relating to market access for fishery products, and in particular the establishment of a Regional Competent Authority Support Unit which will assist smaller countries such as Tuvalu to meet the sanitary requirements of the EU, USA and other developing countries.

Other market access issues relate to the uneven application of the IUU regulation by the EU – something that has specifically impacted Tuvalu – and the inappropriate inclusion of fishery management provisions in trade agreements currently under discussion in the region,”  he said.