22 Dec 2008

Closing high seas "pockets" hailed as breakthrough

11:18 am on 22 December 2008

One of the big breakthoughs in the annnual Tuna commission meeting in South Korea just over a week ago was getting an agreement from foreign nations to closing parts of the high seas.

The areas in question are so -called "pockets" left between the exclusive economic zones of nations such as the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

But other high seas pockets lie near to the Cook Islands.

Its Director of Offshore Fisheries, Josh Mitchell, says it would be good to close down these areas as they often are used as a hiding place for illegal fishers:

"There is provision under our convention that there should be compatbile measures on the high seas enclaves, so we think we have a good basis to take our argument forward to close the pockets and the scientists say it would make a ten per cent improvement on the stocks by closing these pockets."