13 Oct 2009

Marshall Islands plans new fishing laws

4:34 pm on 13 October 2009

The Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority is moving to adopt new fishing regulations that could lead to the prosecution of American purse seiners who violate the rules within its 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

The regulations have been developing through regional efforts to reduce fish catches and manage the four-billion US dollar annual tuna industry.

The Marine Authority's Directory Glen Joseph says the Fishing Licensing Regulations of 2009 are now undergoing a public review and comment period.

The proposed new regulations are a result of recent action by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, which involves eight Pacific nations that control about 60 percent of all tuna caught in the region.

Tha aim is to close off fishing in high seas pockets in between the 200-mile exclusive economic zones of several Pacific nations, and to outlaw the use of fish aggregation devices for three months each year to reduce the number of tuna caught.

Other measures include requiring vessels to bring all catch to shore instead of discarding under-sized tuna at sea.

Mr Joseph says the authority aims to have the regulations in full force at national level by 2010.