The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), a small 600-island nation in the Pacific Ocean with a little more than 100,000 people, has ordered an official review of its tuna fishing policies and practices, the Marianas Variety reports.
Written by: editorial / Undercurrent News
The value of tuna fishing access in the FSM’s exclusive economic zone has grown since 2007 as a result of the implementation of restrictions put in place by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement and the Western and Central Pacific Fishery Commission, the FSM newspaper explains. And so too has the fishing industry there, from just two companies with five purse seiners to 23 purse seiners in 2019.
Also, the FSM’s fishery has transformed from being dominated by foreign-based operations to being made up mostly of domestically based harvesters, the article notes.
The Pacific island nation, like others in the region, has granted fishing fee concessions and discounts to companies that are nationally owned or based. Since 1987, it has provided incentives to help offset initial high establishment costs that companies might face in order to invest in or transfer their operations to FSM.
But this policy was based on the understanding that those investments and activities would generate clear and tangible socio-economic benefits to the FSM economy, and now FSM president Peter Christian has become concerned that too many concessions may have been granted to licensees without enough tangible proof of performance. He wants to see changes by 2020.
“Genuine investors and partners should have no fear about a tightening up of FSM policies and practices,” Christian said. “They will understand that delivering genuine and equitable two-way benefits provide the best assurance of long-term business viability and the sustainability of the tuna resource.”
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