Pacific Islands Unite in Defense of Tuna
Good news for those who think tuna’s continued existence is a good idea:
Tuna is the oil of the Western and Central Pacific, with the region’s stock worth $5.5 billion. As unregulated fishing collapses tuna stocks elsewhere and global demand for tuna grows, the value of the fish here continues to climb. One Pacific bluefin recently sold in Japan for $1.76 million, and over the past four years, the cost of licenses to fish tuna in this region shot from $400 per day to $6,000. High prices and healthy stocks are a huge magnet for pirate fishers who flock to this part of the Pacific. In 2010, Palau recorded about 850 pirate fishing vessels plundering its waters. Keeping the fishing regulated and the pirate fishers at bay is a massive and economically critical job.
To do it, Palau and seven of its Pacific neighbors, collectively called the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, are going to extraordinary lengths to protect their tuna economy, taking on not only the high-seas mayhem but also distant fishing powers who want more and more fish. And if the PNA’s revolutionary methods catch on, they could have far-reaching repercussions not only for the beleaguered tuna but also for the health of our oceans.
Good for them. May their efforts remain sincere and make a real impact.