14 Nov 2005

French Polynesian tuna boats win access to island off Mexico

6:55 am on 14 November 2005

A French Polynesian tuna fishing business has won the right to send three boats into the waters of Clipperton island - the uninhabited French island some 13-hundred kilometers off Mexico's Pacific coast.

The waters around Clipperton are said to be far richer in tuna than French Polynesia's waters and have so far been exploited by boats from mainly Mexico, Colombia and El Salvador.

From next year, licences will be needed from France to fish in the Clipperton waters.

The three Tahiti-based vessels belonging to Henri Butscher are expected to take 17 days from Papeete to reach the Clipperton waters.

Mr Butscher has told the Tahitipresse news agency that while he hopes to catch about 60 tonnes of tuna with each of the boats, he would like state guarantees for the venture.