24 Mar 2008

CNMI fishing restriction vote deemed invalid

10:21 am on 24 March 2008

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has voted to prohibit purse seine fishing in the exclusive economic zone of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

However, the vote appears to be invalid because the council reportedly failed to give proper notice of the meeting with the Federal Register.

A council member, Manny Duenas, has told the Pacific Daily News that all decisions made at the meeting are nullified.

In its decision, the council said it was concerned that the revitalisation of the U.S. purse seine fleet, combined with the likely constraints on purse seine fishing effort in the Western and Central Pacific, may lead to increased interest in the area.

Earlier, the council voted on a similar purse-seine area closure for waters surrounding Guam.