First, the fisheries scientists say the reserve is only 11% of the Kiribati EEZ, so the purse-seiners who take the bulk of the tuna catch and use fish-aggregating devices could easily fish around it with little or no dent in their profits, which are currently estimated at over 100%. Second, the scientists predict the biomass inside the reserve will double, so that fishing along the borders of PIPA -- which are almost all in Kiribati's EEZ -- would be more profitable than elsewhere. Kiribati could charge a premium for fishing in the Phoenix Islands EEZ that's outside PIPA. Finally, when climate change increases the sea level in the Central Pacific to the point the islands become uninhabitable, the extra amount of fish in the reserve, immune from the overfishing that goes on outside it, will serve as a piggy bank that can help finance the evacuation. And as tuna prices increase, driven by demand in India and China, the kitty will become increasingly valuable.
Here are the details in the July issue of the Fiji magazine Islands Business.