18 Oct 2007

Forum leaders say fisheries protection vital for economic development

2:10 pm on 18 October 2007

Pacific leaders say that region's fisheries are a vital key to sustainable economic growth and they want urgent action to save the resource.

At the annual Pacific Islands Forum summit in Tonga they have produced the Vava'u Declaration on Pacific Fisheries Resources.

Don Wiseman reports.

"The leaders say there is an imperative need for the nations of the region to take immediate, decisive and collective action to secure the fish stocks. The leaders say within the next three to five years, the people's future livelihoods, regional food security and the protection of the environment, need to be ensured. The leaders say national tuna industries should be promoted, as well as the development of coastal fisheries. Australia and New Zealand are being called on to help the small island states develop their domestic fisheries. The urgent adoption of measures by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission to address overfishing of bigeye and yellow tuna, including specific steps to stop the catch of juvenile tuna, are called for in the declaration. The leaders also want to see a strengthening of agencies such as the Forum Fisheries Agency and the development of a comprehensive regional monitoring, control and surveillance strategy."