16 Dec 2009

Fish transshipment controls seen as boost for Pacific fishing

5:21 pm on 16 December 2009

New measures to control the off-loading of catch onto larger vessels in international waters could result in economic benefits for Pacific nations.

After discussions in previous years, the latest Tuna Commission meeting in Tahiti finally reached agreement to introduce new rules.

The head of the New Zealand Delegation to the Tuna Commission session, Matthew Hooper, says the decision is a welcome step forward

"This activity has been identified as playing a part in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing so having a measure in place is a significant step and it's been a long time coming. Transshipment can also bring some economic benefits to island states when transshipment takes place within ports or close to port areas because countries can then be involved in the regulatory work and indeed in provisioning the vessels."

Mr Hooper said another measure will make it the responsibility of the flag state to ensure the fishing vessels are on the Commission register.

He says if vessels aren't on that list before they fish beyond national boundaries, they will be eligible for blacklisting .