13 Apr 2005

Meeting in Wellington to discuss ways to stop illegal fishing in the Pacific

10:29 am on 13 April 2005

New Zealand government officials are meeting their French and Australian counterparts today to discuss ways to stop illegal fishing, which is estimated to cost the Pacific region more than 400 million US dollars a year..

They want to block illegal tuna fishing by co-ordinating aerial surveillance with patrol boats in the the Pacific.

A senior policy officer at New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Susannah Gordon, says small Pacific nations have real challenges monitoring their large exclusive economic zones.

"Last year there was a surveillance operation in the Federated States of Micronesia which resulted in four major prosecutions. But even more important is the prosecutions' deterrent effect on other would-be illegal fishers."