Keeping Pacific tuna fish stocks from overexploitation
29 May 2007
"In the southeast Atlantic, the Southeast Pacific, the Northeast Atlantic and the high seas tuna fishing grounds in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, half to two thirds of tuna stocks are overexploited, depleted, or recovering," Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said today.
Speaking at a dinner for the Pacific Islands Fisheries Forum Committee, which is meeting all this week in Wellington, he underlined how important it is for members of the Fisheries Forum to work together to protect the resource in the central and western Pacific.
"We are in charge of the world’s last big tuna resource. The capture potential of the world’s oceans has reached its ceiling. The oceans need more cautious and effective fisheries management, and we are connected by our responsibility to play our part in our corner of the globe," Jim Anderton said.
"This resource is the economic engine driving many Pacific Island economies," he said, and went on to talk of the major challenge for all the member countries to ensure that fish are taken legally and reported properly.
"One step we can take is to make sure only legal and reported fish are traded throughout the world. So we need to get rid of ports-of-refuge for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels. We need disincentives to illegal fishing," Jim Anderton said. A binding agreement for port state measures will help to make ports unattractive for IUU vessels to visit.
"But the way we will benefit most is by our ability to work together for our mutual benefit. We have a lot of work to do to ensure we capture more of the value from our resource and to ensure we protect it for the future."
Read the Minister's speech in full