23 Oct 2009

More moves mooted to curb illegal tuna fishing in Pacific

4:34 pm on 23 October 2009

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement are to investigate closing off additional high seas pockets to rein in illegal tuna fishing.

The fisheries ministers from the PNA countries - the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu - met in Kiribati this week.

The PNA aims to secure greater economic benefits from tuna and co-ordinate and harmonise the management of the resource.

This week's meeting agreed to establish a PNA office in the Marshall Islands next year.

The ministers have also agreed that further work be done on closing additional high seas areas because they provide a safe haven for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The PNA also wants to extend its vessel day scheme, which already applies to purse seiners, to longline fishing vessels.

Under this scheme permission to fish for a certain number of days is sold and traded.

The members are also looking at other means of generating increased benefits, such as refuelling and unloading in PNA ports and requiring the vessels to include crew from the PNA countries.