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TABLE 6.5 - Pacific Islands Fishing Access Agreements
|Agreement/Owner||Party||Period||Cash Payment (USS)1||Other Remuneration2||Terms|
|Signatories to Nauru Agreement|
|Federated States of Micronesia Japan||1/79-12/79||$2 million||900 v|
|1/80-12/81||$2 million||$400,000||800 v|
|1/81-12/81||$2.1 million||$400,000||800 v|
|5/82-4183||$2.6 million||$l80,000||800 v|
|US||see ATA and Star-Kist under Belau|
|Marshall Islands||Japan||7/79-12/79||$400,000||400 v|
|4/81-3/82||$1 million||$160,000||470 v|
|4/82-3/83||$1.2 million||470 v|
|US||see ATA and Star-Kist under Belau|
|Papua New Guinea||Japan||5/78-1/79||$1.4 million||$32.71m/v|
|1/80-8/81||3 5-4.5% fob||contract|
|Central Southwest Pacific Territories|
|Cook Islands||S. Korea||11/80-11/81||$82,000||n.a.|
|French Polynesia||Japan||7/79-4/80||$240,000||225 v|
|Tuvalu||S. Korea||8/80-7/81||$99.000||137 v|
|Wallis and Futuna Islands||Japan||7/79-4/80||$82,000||4o v|
Source: Ridings (1983), pp. 6-8.
m = month.
v = vessels.
ATA = American Tunaboat Association.
n.a. = not available.
1In US dollars. United Nations average annual exchange rates for the year of agreement are used tor coliversion and the restilts rounded.
2All dollars are US dollars Artless otherwise specified. The United Nations' annual average exchange rates for the year of the agreement are used for conversion, and the results rounded.
3Fluctuating fees are a result of tile exchange rates.
TABLE 6.6 - Tuna Joint-venture Arrangements in the Pacific
|Resource Owner||Foreign Involement||Category||Year|
|Signatories to Nauru Agreement|
|Federated States of Micronesia||Japan/n.a.||A||1980|
|Papua New Guinea||Japan/Kyokuyo||C||1971|
|Central Southwest Pacific Territories|
|French Polynesia||Japan/Shin-ei Boki||A||1976|
|American Flag Territories|
|American Samoa||US/Van Camp||C||1914|
Source: Ridings (1983), p. 19.
n.a. = not applicable.
Category A: Foreign company and local private interests have equity in same company.
Category B: Foreign company and host government have equity in joint-venture company.
Category C: Company is wholly owned by outside interests and registered in host territory.
Kiribati, Tonga, Western Samoa, and Fiji are involved in small fisheries development employing local people using pole-and-line and long-lining techniques. Development of small-seale commercial fisheries has great potential and even greater need in all of the island states, and various programmers have already found their way into official Development Plans (Government of Fiji, 1981: 153-5; Republic of Vanuatu, 1982: 151-3). However, a word of caution is also in orderself-sufficient small-seale commercial fishing enterprises designed to provide fresh fish for local consumption have not thus far been a great success story in the Pacific. Rising fuel and equipment costs, the need to travel greater distances to fishing grounds, and dubious support from home governments are some of the problems they face.
After nearly two decades of experience, the outlines of a division of labour in the Pacific islands' fishing industry is becoming apparent. Large-seale commercial fishing has become the preserve of nations foreign to the region, though by no means strangers to the resources therein. Small-seale fishing for domestic consumption has been relegated to local entrepreneurs. Control-and with it the bulk of the profit-has been firmly held by foreign corporations. This fact is not unrecognized by Pacific island governments, sometimes to their irritation and often to their frustration. The overall Pacific island government approach seems to have been to deal with an unpleasant reality-foreign control of another Pacific island resource-by securing what are in their view the highest licencc fees and the most attractive joint-venture terms that can now be gained. They anticipate the day when they might be in a realistic position to modify the present situation and gain a greater share of the total proceeds from this important industry, which has substantial potential for growth.
Sometimes in discussions about the Pacific islands, there is a
tendency to give the impression that this small, sparsely
populated area of the world can be approached as a whole and that
between island nations are non-existent. However, differences of view exist on a wide range of issues, including development and access for nuclear weapon-carrying and nuclear-powered ships to island ports. Comparable or greater differences will no doubt emerge over seabed mineral resources when their exploitation becomes ripe for consideration. Indeed, what have so far been muted differences, often painstakingly and laboriously handled so as to avoid confrontation, may have reached a breaking point over some issues. Stresses and strains in island relationships are evident regarding exploitation of tuna resources within the respective maritime zones. These differences are perhaps best reflected in some of the recent subregional groupings that have emerged regarding fisheries management.
The Nauru Agreement
The signatories to what is called the Nauru Agreement, signed in February 1982, were representatives of Belau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. The area covered by these states includes waters rich in tuna stocks, particularly skipjack, and it is here that purse-seine fishing by Japanese, American, South Korean, Taiwanese, and Soviet vessels is concentrated. The countries that are signatories to the Nauru Agrcement receive the most lucrative benefits from their fish resources of any countries in the region. Six of the nine agreements to which the 'Nauru group' are signatories are joint ventures (Table 6.6). The second group consists of Western Samoa, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, the Cook Islands, Nine, Tokelau, Tonga, Fiji, and Tuvalu, where the development of local fishery ventures seems to be a high priority. There are few access agreements with foreign fishing interests here; those that do exist are for lesser amounts of money than that paid to countries of the Nauru group. Individual states have also entered into a number of joint-venture arrangements with the Japanese. The US flag territories - American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Marianas-make up the third group. It comes within the jurisdiction of the United States Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976, which excludes tuna from its management authority (Ridings,1983: 3)
In addition to these three subregional groups, there is the overarehing South Pacific Forum Fishcrics Agency (SPFFA), which was conceived at a meeting of the South Pacific Forum in 1976. However, it was not until the latter part of 1978, after a great deal of debate (some of it quite heated), that the SPFFA was finally established. Membership was restricted to Forum nations (Kent, 1980: 166-72; Van Dyke and Heftel, tom). Much of the unusually acrimonious debate revolved around the question of membership in the proposed organization and the kind of organization it would be. Kent (1980: 170) describes the alternatives in these terms:
One would aim primarily at ensuring conservation and promoting optimum utilization of the living resources throughout the sea in which they occur.... The ocher would aim primarily at ensuring maximum benefits for the peoples of the coastal countries in the region and for the region as a whole.
To be fully effective, the first ... would need participation by all countries in whose waters the resources occur at various stages of their life cycle as well by all the countries which exploit them. The second . . ., on the contrary, would comprise only those countries in the South Pacific with a common interest as coastal states.
At the heart of the matter lay the immediate question of whether the United States, which does not recognize exclusive jurisdiction by coastal states over migratory fish, and other non-Forum states ought to be allowed membership in the new organization. When the issue came to a head at the Ninth Forum Meeting in Nine in September 1978, Western Samoa, Nine, the Cook Islands, Australia, and New Zealand supported the broader organization including membership for the United States. Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, Tonga, Kiribati, and the Solomon Islands took the opposite view. When the decision was finally made, the door to US membership was closed. The Forum went on to adopt a SPFFA Convention that established coastal nations' sovereignty over migratory species of fish within their 200-nmi EEZs and that limited membership to Forum members (Kent, 1980: 169; Van Dyke and Heftel, 1981: 14-15)
The establishment of the SPFFA is in itself significant. Whether, as Kent (1980: 170) argues, 'the agency has been established as a rather weak service agency rather than as anything approaching a management agency', the tact remains that membership in the new organization has been confined to island states. This is Important because It maximizes for the owners of these fishery resources to learn to make their own decisions free from the meddling of outsiders and, in time, from domination by them.
The SPFFA Convention is not perfect; no regional or other agreement ever is. Van Dyke and Heftel (1981: 19-44) have delineated a number of unresolved issues not addressed in the SPFFA Convention and highlighted its ambiguities. These will no doubt eventually be addressed by Pacific islanders acting to solve their own problems on the basis of experience and in the face of changing circumstances and evolving problems. That, after all, is vital for political maturation, as well as for maintaining control over their own destiny. If any complaint is valid here, it is that island states only infrequently resist big-power pressures and chart courses of action consistent with their pcoplcs' own interests.
The area where migratory tuna resources are to be found in the Pacific is so large that it presents problems of surveillance. So far, the available surveillance facilities have been minimal. lout despite the lack of such facilities, the SPIFFA has made it clear that foreign vessels 'fishing in the South Pacific's 200-mile economic zones without being listed on a register opened at the . . . Agency will be just fishing for trouble. They will be classed as illegals, liable to arrest.' (Keith-Reid, 1983: 51-4.)
There have already been such arrests. In 1982, Papua New Guinea seized the Danica, an American super-seiner caught poaching in its waters. The Papua New Guinea government was finally bullied into releasing the vessel after the imposition of a nominal fine (KeithReid, 1983: 51). In June 1984, the Solomon Islands government arrested another American ship, the Jeannette Diana, for fishing illegally within its EEZ. The ship's captain and the owners were fined, and the vessel itself, valued at US$3 million, was confiseated and advertised for sale. The United States retaliated with a trade embargo against Solomon Islands tuna products worth several million dollars in export revenues (The Fiji Times, 1984: 8).
The Forum, drawn into the dispute at the behest of the Solomon Islands, made its position clear. In the official communique setting out the record of action taken at its fifteenth session in Funafuti (2718 August 1984), the Forum 'expressed its continuing concern at the failure of the United States to recognize the applicability of 200 mile EEZ to tuna and at the fact that that country endeavored to enforce its position through embargo legislation (Fifteenth South Pacific Forum, 1984: 10).
Negotiations on a regional licensing agreement between sixteen Pacific island nations and the United States began in 1984. The US negotiating team was led by the State Department and included advisers from the US tuna industry. Leadership of the Pacific islands negotiating team shifted among the various countries in the region, while major technical and strategic support in formulating the islanders' position came from the Forum Fisheries Agency. After a long and difficult effort spanning ten negotiating sessions, an agreement was finally reached during the tenth round in Tonga in October 1986 (International Legal Materials, 1987: 1048).
The treaty entails a package of approximately VS$60 million of financial aid and payments by the United States over a five-year term. About US$2 million a year is to be paid in fishing vessel licence fees and industry assistance and about US$10 million in US foreign aid with supposedly few strings attached. Approximately 85 per cent of these funds are to be allocated among the Pacific island nations according to the amount of fish caught in each nation's EEZ, with the remainder to be divided evenly among all of the participating nations. Significant portions of certain 200-nmi zones, especially in the Solomon Islands, have been excluded to allow development of the local fishing industry. Those nations with the most valuable tuna resources may have forgone for the sake of unity greater financial returns that they could have received had they dealt individually with the United States. The financial terms are substantially more generous than those initially discussed by the US negotiating team. Many believe that it was the entry of the USSR into South Pacific fishery affairs in 1985 that, indirectly at least, was responsible for the US willingness to 'raise the ante' (Wolfe, 1988).
The conclusion of the tuna treaty with the United States signalled a change in the pattern of exploitation of tuna resources. In 1984, distant-water fleets took approximately 600,000 tons of tuna from the region, with an estimated value of US$660 million. But these distant-water fishing nations paid access fees equal to less than 3 per cent of the value of the fish (Kotobalavu, 1988). Under the new treaty, the USED million a year which the United
States will pay the region is equivalent to about 9 per cent of the value of the 1984 US tuna catch in the region. While this is a step towards redistribution of benefits derived from tuna harvesting, the Pacific island states want a larger return from the use of their resource (CicinSain and Knecht, 1989).
The Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) is designated to act as 'administrator' on behalf of the South Pacific island nations. It will receive and disburse the payments made under the treaty; receive and distribute reports from licensed vessels fishing in the treaty area; and carry on other administrative functions. The United States is charged with enforcing compliance of the treaty provision on US fishing vessels licensed under the treaty. The agreement extends over a fiveyear period and can be amended at any time during that period by a unanimous vote of the nations party to the agreement. The United States ratified the treaty and it entered into force on 14 June 1988 (The Marshall Islands Journal, 1988: I').
Whether the conclusion of this agreement will provide 'the satisfactory long term solution to this problem' (Fifteenth South Pacific Forum, 1984: 10) remains to be seen. The FFA is now attempting to negotiate regional access agreements with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. There will probably be more such incidents even as surveillance methods improve and the SPFFA takes other steps to ensure that those who fish in member nations' territorial waters do so legally and according to established rules. Perhaps nowhere, in the tangled web of problems associated with this resource, is there more sensitivity and potential for overt conflict and headline-making stories of action and reprisals than over the issue of foreign vessels fishing illegally within island states' EEZs. These incidents have implications both for domestic politics (Fifteenth South Pacific Forum, 1984: 8) and for international relations, including pressures that will be brought to bear on regional organizations such as the Forum and its fisheries arm, the SPFFA.
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