12 Aug 2008

NZ Greens to push government to protect Pacific tuna fishery

1:45 pm on 12 August 2008

The New Zealand Green Party is launching a petition calling on the Government to take urgent action to halt the over-exploitation of the Pacific's tuna fisheries.

The Green's conservation and fisheries spokesperson, Metiria Turei, says well over 4000 large foreign fishing vessels are plundering the Pacific waters.

She says technological advances mean large ships can catch as many fish in two days as a small Pacific nation can in a year.

Ms Turei says the Pacific tuna fishery is clearly heading for crisis and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which is tasked with ensuring the sustainability of this fishery, has failed to take action.

The Green's Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson, Keith Locke, says the current exploitation of the fishery has brought little economic benefit for the Pacific region.

He says over 90 percent of the two million tonnes of tuna taken from the Pacific each year is caught by fleets from outside the region.