Pacific’s Fishing Grounds under Threat

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DEAR EDITOR,

According to a news bulletin released by Radio New Zealand International today, 5 December 2017, Fiji’s fisheries minister Semi Koroilavesau says Pacific tuna is under threat from the world’s largest fishing nations including China, Japan and South Korea.

Quoting from the report it said.

“He ( Mr Koroilavesau) is critical of what he said was the inaction of the Western and Central Pacific Fishing Commission in controlling overfishing in the high seas and the low catches within regional fisheries zones.

“Mr Koroilavesau told the annual meeting of the Tuna Commission in Pasay City in the Philippines that Fiji does not want to see this continue as the country’s fishery may collapse under the pressure.

“The Tuna Commission makes its decision by consensus and easily deadlocked by recalcitrant fishing nations.

“The Forum Fisheries Agency’s director-general, James Movick, said there was a need for the region to confront the distant water fishing nations.

“Mr Movick said the time had come to step up conversations around the economics of tuna and what countries, thinking regionally, are prepared to take – and give – so that the Pacific can protect its fisheries resource, and achieve its economic aspirations.”

It will be recalled that in April this year in the Solomon Islands, several Vietnamese were caught stealing local marine resources and were ordered to pay $36 million if they wanted their three blue boats back or in the event the owners failed to pay, the boats would be destroyed.

It was believed the Vietnamese fishermen were charged under the Fisheries Management Act 2015 and the charges consisted of

Illegal entry without permit, which attracted a $12 million fine or imprisonment term for none citizens of not more than five years

Illegal fishing without licence from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, which attracted a fine of 5 million or imprisonment term not exceeding five years

Using of diving apparatus in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and territorial waters of Solomon Islands, which attracted a fine not exceeding $5million or imprisonment term not exceeding three years

Harvesting of bech-de-mer using illegal diving gears in the country’s EEZ, which attracted a fine of $50,000 and

Illegal harvesting of bech-de-mer, banned by the Solomon government.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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