Minister meets with Pacific colleagues
2 July 2010
Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley leaves on Sunday for two important meetings with other Fisheries Ministers and government representatives from around the Pacific.
The first meeting will be held in Madang, Papua New Guinea on 7 and 8 July, and the second in Canberra, Australia on 12 and 13 July.
"These meetings are a valuable opportunity to meet with our Pacific neighbours and discuss how we manage the region's fisheries," Mr Heatley says.
The Ministerial meeting in Madang is being held as part of the annual meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee, and will be the sixth time there has been a ministerial level meeting.
Ministers will discuss the management of the southern Pacific’s valuable fish stocks, especially highly migratory tuna species, as well as patrolling and surveillance in the region to protect these fisheries.
The Pacific Fisheries and Law Enforcement Ministerial Meeting in Canberra will involve representatives from 17 countries. Attendees will discuss legal arrangements to protect the Southern Pacific’s fisheries, fisheries law enforcement, exchange of information between law enforcement agencies and control of fishing activity throughout the region.
Pacific tuna fisheries are worth around $3.9 billion every year making it a hugely significant resource for the region. They are the largest source of export earnings for many island countries and underpin the regional economy.
New Zealand provides a range of assistance to Pacific Island countries to manage their fisheries, including military patrolling and surveillance, training and development for fishery managers as well as fisheries management advice and aid projects.
"Tuna stocks are the most valuable natural resource for many Pacific Island nations. Managing these fish stocks for the long term is vital for economic security and development for the whole region," Mr Heatley says.