2 Mar 2007

Pacific nations seek more New Zealand help to protect fisheries

10:40 am on 2 March 2007

Pacific nations are asking New Zealand for more help in catching poachers targetting lucrative tuna stocks.

Illegal fishing and over-fishing is costing the region billions of dollars a year.

The United Nations has already warned that tuna resource management is failing, raising fears that stocks could collapse.

New Zealand sends air force patrols to look for poachers, but countries like Vanuatu want more patrols, as they don't have the resources to monitor the fishery.

And the Marshall Islands has now asked New Zealand for more help, a request the Foreign Minister Winston Peters says he's treating sympathetically.

"We have got to try and give more economic encouragement for fisheries to be sustained for the first five years when they are newly established, because it's tough starting a business."