19 Dec 2005

Series of agreements reached on fishing of tuna stocks in region

4:17 pm on 19 December 2005

A series of agreements has been reached on the fishing of tuna stocks in the region.

The executive director of the Central and Western Pacific Fisheries Commission, Andrew Wright, says they will establish a satellite-based vessel tracking system to monitor the activities of fishing vessels, particularly those on the high seas.

And, he says there was an agreement to establish a regional observer programme, in conjunction with others already operating.

Mr Wright says member countries also decided to maintain the number of fishing vessels and level of catches.

"There wasn't a push for an actual increase in fishing vessel numbers in countries, more there was a determined effort to try and at least secure vessel numbers at current levels, 2004 levels. And, that concerned quite a lot of the members because the 2004 levels were the highest on record, yet."

Mr Wright says scientists have been warning there is a danger that current fishing levels are unsustainable.

He says the commission has tasked scientists with closely monitoring the impact of this season's catch.