Northern Hemisphere states block South Pacific fishing talks
13 November 2006 Press advisory
Fisheries talks in Hobart ended a step closer to managing fishing in the South Pacific high seas, but proposed interim fisheries and environmental measures were blocked by Northern Hemisphere fishing nations,” says Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton.
“New Zealand is very pleased with the progress that’s been made towards establishing a regional fisheries management organisation for non-highly migratory fish stocks in the South Pacific,” Jim Anderton says.
“But we’re deeply disappointed that protection measures for fragile ecosystems outside our EEZ have been blocked by the European Union, South Korea, and Russia.”
The talks in Hobart last week are a continuation of discussions that began in Wellington in February. They aim to develop a regional fisheries agreement to manage non-highly migratory fish stocks in high seas areas between Australia and South America.
The Hobart talks aimed also to set up interim measures to manage the effects of bottom trawling in these areas.
“New Zealand worked hard to broker a range of strong measures that would protect fragile deep-water ecosystems in the South Pacific from bottom trawling,” Jim Anderton says.
“I’m particularly disappointed that the European community refused to limit their current fishing effort in the region. This went against the precautionary, ecosystem-based approach that South Pacific and South American states were asking for.
“These Northern Hemisphere countries have a poor track record of managing their own fisheries, and seem set on continuing this in South Pacific waters.
“I know that Pacific Island states feel particularly aggrieved about the cavalier attitude the European community and other Northern Hemisphere fishing nations have shown towards fisheries management and sustainability in the South Pacific.”
Jim Anderton says New Zealand will continue working with other responsible fishing nations like Australia and Pacific Island nations to develop comprehensive proposals to regulate bottom trawling in the South Pacific. These will be put to the next meeting of parties in Chile, next year.
“New Zealand has considerable fishing interests in the high seas of the South Pacific, so we’re obviously concerned about ongoing management in the region,” he says. “We want to make sure the region’s fisheries continue to provide jobs and food for its people.
“This means managing the fish stocks sustainably, and caring for the ecosystems that support them. In this, I know we have the support of the New Zealand fishing industry, and the support of environmental NGOs.”