24 Dec 2003


6:28 am on 24 December 2003

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has welcomed New Zealand's announcement that it has ratified a key regional fisheries agreement.

New Zealand becomes the 13th signatory to the convention which is aimed at effective managment of the region's tuna fishery, which is currently worth two billion US dollars a year.

The Secretary General, Noel Levi, says while some of the worlds biggest fisheries have been destroyed through lack of planning and mismanagement, Pacific Island countries still have a chance to see that the region's tuna fishery is managed in a sustainable way.

Mr Levi called on fishing nations to support the fisheries convention, as well as the longterm development aims of Pacific Island countries.

New Zealand's ratification has triggered a six month countdown towards the Convention taking effect, nine years after it was first mooted by Forum leaders.