THE recent fishing access agreement signed between the Ministry of Fisheries and Korea has increased its value to $16 million, minister Alfred Giro says.
In an exclusive interview with Solomon Star, Mr Giro said this was a substantial increase from last year’s agreement.
“We believe we have set an increased benchmark rate for our Vessel Day Scheme(VDS) as set out by Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) at a minimum rate of US$5000 (SBD$35,500).
But Mr Ghiro declined to release the exact figures of the increased VDS rate agreed upon at the recent talks with Korea.
“We don’t want to disclose the amount since we are yet to negotiate with other fishing nations like New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan,” he said.
Asked whether the $40 million access agreement signed with Korea truly reflects the value of our tuna, the minister said “not really”.
“This value is only for one particular country and does not really reflect the true value of our tuna.
“A combination of other bilateral access agreements could reflect on the value when all the values combined.”
When asked what the total number of fishing
efforts the country has for the past year and this year, Mr Giro said last year
the country has over 2700 VDS and that had increased to over 3,000 this year.
“This is a good indication as the country continues to show improvement in its fisheries sector and had gained more VDS, which will really benefit the country to maximise its tuna value,” he said.
In simple calculations, since the minimum VDS rate is US$5, 000, the country should be earning estimated revenue of SBD$90m (US$13.5m) last year alone.
And this year the country should expect to earn SBD$106m (US$15m).
An amount that is expected to increase further since the ministry has confirmed it has increased its minimum VDS rate above the minimum rate put out by PNA of US$5,000.
But the Solomon Star understands the ministry is charging different VDS rates for different fishing nations above the minimum rate.
By ANIEL NAMOSUAIA
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