11 Nov 2015

New Cook Islands fishing deal "the best package so far"

9:01 pm on 11 November 2015
Aitutaki, Cook Islands

Aitutaki, Cook Islands Photo: Ewan Smith

The Cooks Islands Marine Resources Secretary Ben Ponia says a new US$13 million fishing deal with the European Union is the best package so far for any fishing arrangement.

He says the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement which allows in Spanish purse seiners will bring in nearly 12 and a half thousand US dollars for every day one of the vessels fishes in Cook Islands waters.

He says this is equivalent to the fees which the Parties to the Nauru Agreement charges fleets to fish in its eight Pacific Island-member waters.

Mr Ponia says in 2012 when US purse seiners first began to visit the Cook Islands, the payment was about US$3500 for every fishing day.

He says the level of fishing access requested by the EU was relatively small and equivalent to only 125 fishing days.

Mr Ponia says the deal requires a portion of the funds gained goes to local industry and he says a fuel subsidy for local fishermen will be proposed.

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