9 Dec 2008

Tuna Commission talks in South Korea to deal with fishing vessel numbers in Pacific

5:11 pm on 9 December 2008

The issue of how many fishing vessels should operate in the Central and Pacific Tuna fishery is likely to be brought up at discussions under way in South Korea about ensuring the viability of the resource.

Members of the tuna commission for that area are trying to reach agreement on reducing catch of Bigeye and Yellowfin by 30 per cent.

The Deputy Director of the regional Forum Fisheries Agency, Transform Aqorau, says the issue has implications for small island states and their ability to develop their own fishing industries in the future:

"What we are talking about is the transfer of vessels from one commission member to another and they want to have controls on that and that an issue for the Pacific island countries, small island countries, because Japan, China and some of the others have actually used similar kinds of provisions in the past to prevent small island countries from bringing in boats as part of their domestic development."

Dr Aqorau says at this stage it seems the catch reduction being proposed is receiving support, after failing at the annual meeting last year.