[Coral-List] Large pelagic/reef MPAs - Phoenix Islands, Kiribati

David Obura dobura at cordioea.org
Sat Nov 13 02:50:56 EST 2010

Hi Steve ...

Yes, this is the core of the "reverse fishing license" that has been in the making since 2002. The licensing fees for fish that would otherwise have been caught within the boundaries of PIPA provide a cash value for "buying out the fishing rights". Note that Kiribati still owns those fishing rights, noone is buying them away - if the government were to choose later on to sell those licences again they can, they would just lose the entire Endowment Fund that is paying the same license fee to keep the fish in the water.

Institutionalizing this relationship is what the Trust is about, which is a statutory trust established by an Act of Parliament of the Kiribati Government and signed by the President, and a legal contract between the governmnent and the partner organizations (The New England Aquarium and Conservation International). A hunt is on at the moment for Trust Director, which is an international position, whose job it will be to build up and operate the trust as per its regulations. The amount of the Trust Fund is one of those truly difficult issues of valuation of natural resources/ecosystem services, a process that started in about 2006 and on which there'll be several iterations of assessment  and evaluation of the performance of the trust. Currently, the Trust has existing commitments (led by Conservation International's Global Conservation Fund) of about US$5 million, an initial capitalization target of about U$ 13 Million and final target of U$ 25 Million. The greater the commitments to the Trust Fund, the more area and natural assets the country will set aside from extraction (and vice versa of course).

The income from the Trust has to pay for management of PIPA as well as put funds into the country's Treasury to be spent on programmes that benefit people - that is of course a matter of government control, as in any country. We haven't got there yet, but this has been a lightning-speed process if you think of where the government has got, to from almost no knowledge of the Phoenix Islands (marine at least) in 1999.



> Message: 8
> Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 11:38:35 -0500
> From: Steven Miller <smiller at gate.net>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Large pelagic/reef MPAs - Phoenix Islands,
> 	Kiribati
> To: David Obura <dobura at cordioea.org>
> Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Message-ID: <4CDD6D8B.4040200 at gate.net>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
> Hi David
> I thought that buying out the fishing rights, to benefit the people of 
> Kiribati, was considered paramount to the success of the PIPA. Is this 
> still an element of the management strategy?

> I also remember early discussions about establishing a Trust on behalf 
> of the people of Kiribati as justification for eliminating fishing (that 
> is, jobs).  You mentioned that the government is in the processing of 
> setting up a Trust Fund "based on the natural resources of the protected 
> area that will benefit the people of Kiribati..."  If I remember 
> correctly, the Trust Fund has been talked about for some time now.  How 
> much money is in the Fund now and how much money is sought (needed) to 
> benefit the people of Kiribati?
> Thanks for the update.
> Steven Miller, PhD
> Research Professor
> UNC Wilmington
> I suppose knowing how the money would be spent to benefit the people of 
> Kiribati is an important question too, but that is another issue.

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