He who pays the fiddler calls the tuna
The Japan Embassy in Majuro announced Friday that Ebeye Island’s power utility is benefiting from $827,455 in Japan funding provided to the Marshall Islands government through a “Counterpart Fund.”
The Counterpart Fund was established between the two nations in January 2009. When the agreement was signed in 2009, the government of Japan extended 200 million Japanese Yen (approximately $2.2 million at that time) as a non-project grant for the rescue of the energy sector to respond to the economic crisis affecting Marshall Islands.
The Marshalls Energy Co. is using the grant funding to purchase fuel that will be used to generate electricity for Ebeye Island, the second largest urban center in the country. The government’s Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority earlier in the week extended a $2 million loan to the MEC that has solved the utility company’s urgent need for funding to pay for fuel for the power plants.
Marshall Islands revenue from fisheries has escalated in the past two years because the price of fishing days for purse seiners has doubled because of action by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, the eight nations, including the Marshall Islands, that control waters where the bulk of skipjack tuna is caught. Joint venture ownership with Taiwan’s Koo’s Fishing Company of a purse seine fishing boat is now generating multi-million dollar returns to the fisheries department.
Chinese subsidies damaging Pacific tuna sector
The Pacific Islands tuna industry maintains that fishing pressure on southern albacore tuna is in truth much worse than the figures suggested by scientific studies.
Moreover, the Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association stated that a fleet of new Chinese boats has made it impossible for local fishers to make a living as part of the industry.
In the last two years, between 200-250 new Chinese vessels have arrived in the fishery, the association estimates, and there is now a total of about 590 Chinese and Taiwanese vessels actively fishing.
The group’s chairman, Charles Hufflett, said the big fuel subsidies the Chinese pay their fleet are having a damaging effect because they make it impossible for the Pacific Industry to compete with them.
Labels: Politics of wealth