By Rita N.Tudia, PacificMedia@WCPFC13
Vanuatu has today signed a six-year extension to a tuna treaty with the United States paving the way for future project development in the country’s tuna fishery industry.
The US Pacific Tuna Treaty was signed by the Acting Director General for Foreign Affairs Basil Yvon on behalf of the Government of Vanuatu at the margins of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission 13th annual meeting in Nadi, Fiji.
Yvon said there has been an increase in Project Development Funds as part of the arrangement with the US.
“With the increase in PDF funds we can fund more fisheries-related projects in the country as part of the development of our fisheries. So this is one of the economic benefits that we are getting out of this Treaty,” Yvon said.
There is not much activity from the US tuna fleet within Vanuatu’s 200 mile Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ).
However, Vanuatu and other FFA members benefit from access fees and aid provided by the Treaty.
The package which comes into effect on January 1, 2017 is worth about US$70million.
Most of the tuna catches in the Vanuatu zone are by domestic and locally based foreign vessels.