15 Jul 2002

Forum Fisheries Agency says island countries need to retain control of tuna resources

11:32 am on 15 July 2002

A lawyer with the Forum Fisheries Agency says Pacific Island countries need to use their power over tuna resources to retain more of the financial benefits.

Transform Aqoraui, who works at the FFA headquarters in Honiara, says up to now the resource has been used for the benefit of foreign fishing companies.

He says when the international community accepted the Pacific's 200 mile exclusive economic zones, it was saying you have sovereignnty over the resource.

Mr Aqoraui says the challenge is to use that right and to ensure it is used to improve the quality of life in the Pacific.

Addressing a media worskshop in Rarotonga, he also said that he would like to see foreign fishing vessels phased out and domestic fishing companies empowered.

Mr Aqoraui also says that unless limits are put on what foreign vessels can catch the resource will suffer and Pacific countries will be the losers.

That ability to set quota will be the key power of the new tuna commission.