Tokelau and the Parties to the Nauru
Agreement (PNA) member countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at
last week’s meeting of PNA Ministers in Palau that allows the South Pacific
territory to join the FSM Arrangement(FSMA), an agreement which allows parties
domestic vessels who are licensed under the arrangement, to access the fishing resources of other
Tokelau is the latest participants, joining other signatories (Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands).
Under the MOU, a framework for the
participation of Tokelau in the FSMA will be established. The arrangement also
enables holders of Regional Access Licenses under the FSMA to fish in Tokelau’s
exclusive economic zone and it also ensures license holders fishing in Tokelau
fisheries waters complies with applicable national laws of Tokelau.
Tokelau will allow all purse seine
vessels licensed to fish in the Arrangement Area under the FSMA to access its
exclusive economic zone.
As a participant to the FSMA, Tokelau
may participate in the Annual Meeting and any Special Meeting of the Parties to
the FSMA and may participate in the decision making but Tokelau will have no
voting right in the process.
The arrangement will take effect
on July 1, 2019.
PNA CEO Ludwig Komoru said the signing
of the MOU with Tokelau is a “very important step” which means in that the
countries in the FSMA arrangement can now go to Tokelau waters to fish.” Giving
both Tokelau and PNA countries “extra area to fish and extra revenues, so it’s
Tokelau is made up of three small coral
atolls – Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu.
Tokelau has an EEZ covering
318,990 square kilometers.
Tokelau does not have a commercial
fishing fleet however, it has a large artisanal fleet of about 50 – 60 small
12’ to 16’ ft. motorized aluminum boats.
In 2012, Tokelau joined the PNA’s vessel
day scheme, the country’s main industry is fishing.
On May 29-30, 2019, Fisheries Ministers
from PNA convened in Koror, Palau for their 14th annual
During the meeting, fisheries ministers
also considered several important issues at this meeting, such as the PNA
Office budget, PNA’s Strategic Plan, the 2020 Party Allowable Effort (PAE), an
independent Chair for the PNA Compliance Committee, the purchase of Fisheries
Information Management System (FIMS) from Quick Access, high seas bunkering,
Vanuatu’s request to join PNA’s Longline (LL) Vessel Day Scheme (VDS),
Tokelau is also a participant at these
meetings as a party to the Palau Arrangement (PA), which is the management
arrangement for the purse seine fishery.