23 Dec 2015

Jury still out on benefit of Solomons mega purse seiners

1:55 pm on 23 December 2015

Regional fisheries officials are still undecided on whether the Solomon Islands move to locally flag three Taiwanese mega purse seiners will be beneficial for the country.

New Zealand journalist Mike Field claims the deal was secured through corrupt means.

He says there would be no benefit for Solomon Islanders.

Yellow Fin tuna

Yellow Fin tuna Photo: RNZI

The chief executive of the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, Transform Aqorau, says there are some errors in Mr Field's claim but there is a need for more clarification from the Solomons government.

However the deputy director general of the Forum Fisheries Agency, Wez Norris, says the move is in line with the wider regional approach to building up Pacific-based fleets.

"We have instruments like the future of fisheries road map and it's not by accident that the fisheries ministers when they wrote that document focused very heavily on issues like employment and said that they want to double the number of Pacific Islanders employed in the fishing industry in the next 10 years."

Wez Norris says the FFA will be working with the Solomons government to ensure the new boats adhere to all the administrative and regulatory requirements for the purse seine fishery.