6 Apr 2009

Pacific Islands a long way off being able to properly monitor illegal fishing

7:10 pm on 6 April 2009

A delegate at the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) meeting underway in Honiara says member countries and territories are a long way off being able to properly monitor fishing activity in their waters.

The FFA members are discussing the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance, or MCS, strategy which is being developed as a way to better respond, regionally, to illegal fishing.

The chair of the MCS working group, Pius Chopailug of the Federated States of Micronesia, says they're focussing on measures which came out of the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Commission's meeting in December.

One of those was an agreement to increase the number of FFA observers on board fishing boats.

Mr Chopailug says they currently only have 20 percent observer coverage.

"But we want to increase it to 100 percent. So like I said, the FFA members do not have the capacity and capability yet. But we are recruiting and we'll go through the training process before implementation of this."

Pius Chopailug