14 Apr 2009

Cook Islands PM says his country struggles to monitor illegal fishing

7:17 am on 14 April 2009

The Cook Islands Prime Minister, Jim Marurai, says his country still struggles to monitor illegal fishing in its EEZ, although international assistance has helped.

The Forum Fisheries Agency says it's made inroads into the problem of illegal fishing over recent years, and that the new Vessel Monitoring System which started this month, is a great boost for stock management purposes.

However the Cook islands Prime Minister, Jim Marurai, says enforcing compliance among foreign fishing vessels is difficult when you're dealing with non members of the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fisheries Commission.

He also says that it's getting more costly for the Cook Islands just to patrol its own waters

"We're finding that very costly with the patrols now that petrol fuel is expensive. So the assistance from New Zealand, the United States and France are welcome."

Jim Marurai says the FFA is doing well to address the capacity of monitoring among FFA members through robust region-wide capacity building and training programmes.