19 Mar 2015

Cooks group opposes FADs

3:10 pm on 19 March 2015

A Cook Islands environmental group says the government's plans to assign further purse seine fishing allocations could work against plans for a large marine park.

Purse Seine fishing

Purse Seine fishing Photo: Supplied

The Ministry of Marine Resources has announced it will accept a second round of negotiations to assign the remainder of the 1,250 purse seine fishing allocations for this year.

The technical director of Te Ipukarea Society, Kelvin Passfield, says the announcement may harm plans for the declared Marae Moana.

"For the government to claim to have this desire to be conservation minded and conserve marine reserves on one hand through setting up this large marine park, and then on the other hand to continue actually upscaling the fishing I think is a little bit contradictory and maybe will affect the credibility of the marine park on the international scene."

Kelvin Passfield says purse seine fishing is contributing to the over-fishing of bigeye tuna and says he's considering a petition to see the allocation plans halted.

"The trouble is if they use these fish aggregation devices to attract fish then included with that school of skipjack tuna there's also juvenile bigeye tuna and bigeye tuna are over-fished. When they use the FADs it becomes an unsustainable fishery because they'll fish out the bigeye stocks."

Kelvin Passfield says he'd like to see the use of fish aggregation devices banned and says he'd support purse seine fishing if that were the case.