Fishing Companies Reiterate the Importance and Urgency of Competent Authority in the FSM
With the introduction of the Vessel Day Scheme and the annual increases in fishing access fees, fishing companies accessing FSM’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) have expressed greater interest in establishing tuna processing plants in the FSM in order to qualify for special considerations on access fees and reduce operational costs.
The NORMA Board met with several companies with proposals to establish cold storage facilities in Kosrae as well as loin processing plants in both Kosrae and Pohnpei. It is anticipated that these projects would generate 150-800 employees.
In all the presentations given, the common message from the fishing companies was the critical need and urgency to have a Competent Authority for IUU and Health Safety established in the FSM. Most of the distant water nation fleets fishing in the region export their catch to the EU market, which is currently the most lucrative market for fish products. Companies who have voiced their interest in investing in the FSM are among those fleet. They all stressed during the meeting that their investments would be contingent upon the establishment of the CA. The CA for IUU and Health and Food Safety are market access requirements set by the EU for Countries that wish to export fish into its market. The CA ensures that fish exported into the EU are sustainably caught and are safe for consumption. The only Countries in the Pacific region that have managed to establish a CA are PNG, Fiji, and recently, the small island nation of Kiribati. With the growing interest to invest in the fisheries sector in the FSM, it is imperative that a CA be established soon. NORMA, with support from World Bank under the PROP Project and assistance from New Zealand under a Technical Assistance Project, aims to achieve that within two years.