2 Dec 2016

Call for tough line on Pacific long liners

8:22 pm on 2 December 2016

There are calls for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to get tough on longliners fishing for tuna in the Pacific.

 Small Pacific island states and powerful foreign fishing nations are heading for a showdown next week over management of the world's largest tuna fishery.

Tuna catch being offloaded from a longline fishing boat in Majuro Marshall Islands for export to international sashimi markets. November 18, 2014. Photo: AFP PHOTO / Hilary HOSIA

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement, under which 8 island nations co-operate over the region's purse seine fisheries, said the longliner fishery in the Pacific was out of control.

When the Commission, which is usually known as the Tuna Commission, meets from next Monday in Nadi, the PNA's chief executive, Ludwig Kumoru, said his body would be pressing for significant changes to improve the management of the longline fishery.

"Basically at the moment we don't even know what they are catching out in the high seas. We don't know how much they are catching, what they they are discarding. All of those sort of things - nobody knows what is happening out on the high seas. We don't even knoww how many boats are fishing out on the high seas," said Ludwig Kumoru.

Mr Kumoru said the longliners can stay at sea for up to two years, trans-shipping their product to factory ships.

He said they do not usually enter ports in the Pacific.