27 Nov 2012

Palau prepares for fight with powerful fishing nations over high seas closures

11:19 am on 27 November 2012

Palau's Minister of Marine Resources says island countries want to close off high seas areas that remain open for fishing at next week's Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting.

At the annual meeting in Manila, Pacific Island delegations hope to counter efforts by distant water fishing nations to open up high seas management areas rather than complete closure.

Philippines fleets have exemption to fish in the high seas area around Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Papua New Guinea.

The Minister, Harry Fritz, says tuna stocks won't last if foreign fleets keep fishing the high seas.

"Because they're also interested to go in to the section 2 - or location 2, much bigger, between PNG, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands - because they have seen the lucrative catch in the open high seas. But the purpose for closing it is for breeding."