Tuna and bottom fishery licence management: Tonga

FAO/FishCode Review No. 1

Tuna and bottom fishery licence management: Tonga


FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Rome, 2003

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ISSN 1728-4392

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© FAO 2003

Foreword

This document is a slightly revised version of a report prepared at the request of the Ministry of Fisheries, the Kingdom of Tonga, under the Responsible Fisheries for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Project (GCP/INT/823/JPN) of the FAO FishCode Programme. It is based on a study by Mr W.S. Pintz, FAO Consultant, who conducted a mission to Tonga in June-July 2002. The study was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries under the supervision of the FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands (SAPA) and the technical guidance of the FAO Fisheries Department.

The FishCode Review series publishes results of studies, missions, consultations, workshops, meetings and other project activities undertaken through the Programme, in furtherance of its objective of facilitating implementation of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related international fisheries instruments and plans of action. Individual numbers in the series are distributed to appropriate governments, regional bodies, meeting participants and Programme partners. Further information on Programme background, publications and activities is available through www.fao.org/fi/fishcode.


Pintz, W.S.
Tuna and bottom fishery licence management: Tonga.
FAO/FishCode Review. No. 1. Rome, FAO. 2003. 35p.

ABSTRACT

The evolving regulatory and management context of Tongan tuna and bottom fisheries has received relatively little attention with respect to licensing policies and implications. The Ministry of Fisheries of the Kingdom of Tonga is interested in developing a basis for pricing fishing licences, and requested FAO through its FishCode Programme to provide external assistance to address the question. Tonga is approaching a crossroads in the development of its fisheries sector. A generous incentive and concession package by Government has created considerable momentum in tuna longline activity. Fish are now the largest single export from the Kingdom. However, expansion of the industry faces severe infrastructure constraints. Granting substantial numbers of new longlining licences without resolving these constraints could have serious negative effects on all commercial fisheries in Tonga. The study reviews various options for dealing with near-term Government revenue needs. These include: (a) revising the basis for calculating Export Tax from an imputed price (in TOP) to actual invoiced prices (in US dollars); (b) increasing licence fees on foreign vessels from current levels by 10 or 20 percent; and (c) imposing a fee for the annual licence endorsement issued by the Secretary of Fisheries. The endorsement fee option would generate somewhat greater revenues than the other two and is relatively consistent with the notion of Government capturing an increased fraction of any resource rents from the longlining industry. Vertical and horizontal diversification of local companies will bring new risks and opportunities that Government can either encourage or discourage. The development of a strategic vision for the sector may be the greatest long-term challenge facing fisheries management in Tonga.

Keywords: Fishery management; marine fisheries; small island States; South Pacific.


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