5 Dec 2012

Small Pacific fishing nations oppose extending ban on FADs

2:19 pm on 5 December 2012

Pacific nations have argued at a key meeting in Manila over how best to regulate devices that attract tuna amid growing concern over depleted stocks.

A call to extend an annual ban on fish aggregating devices, or FADs, to four months has been among the most contentious issues at the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting.

An annual July to September ban on FADS is already in place in waters that account for half the world's tuna catch..

A Palau fishing official who chairs the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, Nanette Malsol, says a four-month ban would hurt small Pacific nations the most.

She says they would oppose an extension of the so-called closed period unless the smaller nations were compensated.

Critics say fishing with FADs means juvenile fish are snared, as well as bycatch that includes threatened species like sharks, rays and sea turtles.