3 Jun 2004

Cook Islands wants mandatory locators on tuna fleet

10:27 am on 3 June 2004

The Cook Island's government says all commercial tuna fishing vessels will eventually carry a mandatory locating device, in a bid to cut surveillance costs.

The head of the Ministry of Marine Resources, Ian Bertram, says they're insisting that all long line fishing boats install the automatic locating communicator, or ALC, when they renew their annual license.

The device relays a boat's location to the South Pacific Forum Fisheries agency which is then accessible to the Cook Islands maritime service.

Mr Bertram says it is a cheaper option to keep an eye on who is fishing within the country's big exclusive economic zone.

"It's more of a monitoring tool for us. Our ocean is nearly 2 million square kilometers. We don't have the finances to send a ship out there, we don't have the financial resources to send a ship out there, and do the surface survelliance or to send out a plane to do the aerial survelliance, so to do it this way is a little bit cheaper."

Ian Bertram says the devices start at around 630 US dollars, but can also be more expensive depending on various other functions.