1 Oct 2003

Fishing conference calls for protection of Pacific fish stocks

10:20 am on 1 October 2003

More than 300 fisheries delegates in the Cook Islands have been urged to protect Pacific marine stocks from over exploitation.

Prime Minister Dr Robert Woonton says that, like other island nations, Cook Islanders had little appreciation of the vulnerability of world fish stocks.

Now however, Dr Woonton says scientific evidence shows the need for proper management of marine resources including tuna.

The meeting continues today and is the fifth conference in preparation for the new Tuna Management Commission due for establishment next year.

Support for management of regional fishing stocks is growing with Australia becoming the ninth country to ratify the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention.

United States officials have also signed up for another ten year agreement with Pacific nations after the tuna licenses expired in June.