Tuna still moving slowly

A purse seine fishing vessel (foreground) was off-loading tuna into waiting freezer containers at the PII dock in Majuro at the end of August. PII’s expanding shoreside facilities provide a range of services to the fishing fleet, including since last year handling transshipment of tuna from seiners to containers for later shipment on container vessels to off-shore processing plants. Photo: Jojo Kramer.

Majuro saw a small uptick in the number of tuna transshipments last month, with 18 purse seiners off-loading their catches.

Majuro has been averaging just 14 transshipments per month since January, a 60 percent drop over the 37 it averaged during 2018 and 2019. The reduction is due mainly to Covid-19 quarantine requirements that make it difficult for purse seiners to perform timely transshipments. Much of the transshipment business has shifted west to Pohnpei, according to local ports officials. This is largely because transshipments have different requirements because Pohnpei does not have a lagoon and the tuna transfers are done well offshore with no contact with shore.

Meantime, the 18 transshipments in August is the highest monthly total since 20 were handled in April.

The tuna movement in August also saw one unloading of tuna from a purse seiner directly into freezer containers at the PII Dock near the bridge.

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