Monday, 17 March 2008 7:25 PM

Progress in Fisheries Protection for Pacific

New Zealand's Fisheries Minister has said that progress has been made in negotiations to protect the Pacific's fisheries.

As reported by TVNZ, the Minister, Jim Anderton, made the statement following the negotiations held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where participants from over 30 countries around the world met 'for the fifth round of negotiations to establish a South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) to manage non-highly migratory fisheries on the high seas'.

According to Anderton, the South Pacific was one of the last high seas fisheries that is not being managed and this "is a chance for New Zealand and like-minded countries to help establish a sustainable management regime on our back door-step, similar to the management we have in our own Exclusive Economic Zones", adding 'he was pleased about broad agreement on a precautionary approach to fisheries management, whereby all parties consider long term sustainability of a fishery over short term fishing opportunities'.

A noted concern was the "rapid build up of vessels from distant fishing nations targeting the jack mackerel stock that straddles Chile's waters, which is the largest fishery in the South Pacific" and the hope is that data being submitted from countries on catchment sizes and vessel numbers, which will be used to get a broad picture of fishery sizes throughout the South Pacific, will 'allow a debate on how to ensure an overall sustainable approach'.