5 Jul 2017

Legal challenge to Cooks fishing deal with EU

7:37 am on 5 July 2017

A group of traditional leaders in the Cook Islands and an environmental group are seeking a judicial review of the government's controversial purse seine fishing agreement with the European Union.

Traditional leaders of Te Au O Tonga and Te Ipukarea Society said the agreement was signed without an Environment Impact Assessment being done, the government failed to comply with environmental principles and it disregarded scientific evidence on the impact of purse seining.

Kelvin Passfield of Te Ipukarea Society

Kelvin Passfield of Te Ipukarea Society. Photo: RNZ/ Sally Round

Traditional leaders and Te Ipukarea Society also claimed the government failed to consult with traditional leaders who, under native custom, were considered the guardians and protectors of the country's marine resources.

The statement of claim also submitted the government failed to consult in its fishery plan with traditional leaders who are key stakeholders.

The Prime Minister Henry Puna as Attorney General and Minister of Marine Resources was cited as first and second respondent and the Ministry of Marine Resources the third respondent.

The claims have been rejected by the Crown.

The hearing is expected to take place over three days this week.

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