23 Jan 2008

Call for urgency on Pacific tuna stock protection

8:54 pm on 23 January 2008

The environmentalist group Greenpeace says urgent action is needed to protect certain fish stocks which are facing crisis point.

Fishing vessels from Europe are on the rise in the Pacific despite warnings that catches for certain types of tuna need to be cut by half to protect the stocks from being wiped out.

A Greenpeace spokesperson, Nilash Goundar, warns that if this valuable resource were to be overfished, the future of Pacific people would be in jeopardy.

"It would be disaster, for the Pacific, it would mean loss of jobs, loss of livelyhoods, the canneries in the Pacific closing down, decrease in the revenue of the countries, it would mean economic ruin."

The total tuna trade in the region is valued at three billion US dollars a year.

According to the Forum Fisheries Agency (or FFA), the Pacific is the last remaining area of healthy tuna stocks in the world and as such is a magnet for fish loving nations.

The Deputy Director of the FFA, Tranform Aquorau, says there are plans for a regional surveillance centre as well as a pool of patrol vessels but their major hurdle is finding the money.