15 Aug 2016

Money lost to illegal fishing tops $600 million US

1:42 pm on 15 August 2016

The money Pacific countries lose to illegal, unreported and unregulated tuna fishing in the region is estimated at $616 million, according to figures provided by the Forum Fisheries Agency.

Under an international agreement via the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, also known as the Tuna Commission, 34 countries including the United States have signed an agreement to stomp out IUU fishing.

Murray Bauer from the Office of Law Enforcement in American Samoa

Murray Bauer from the Office of Law Enforcement in American Samoa Photo: Monica Miller

American Samoa is now part of the international enforcement of an anti IUU regulation which would identify violaters, seize their catches and stop them from continuing to trade illegally.

Murray Bauer, from American Samoa's Office of law Enforcement, said they are mainly targettng foreign vessels by closing off local ports.

"Many of these boats don't follow the regulations that protect the resources and the ecosystems in the reefs, because it's not cost-effective. So it's economic-driven. So by closing off ports and access to ports where they can land their illegal catch will make it very difficult for them to continue."

Murray Bauer said a US purse seiner is also under investigation for fishing in a Pacific country's exclusive economic zone without a licence.