23 Mar 2004

Call for Pacific Islands to catch less tuna to control price

12:57 pm on 23 March 2004

There are calls for the Pacific islands to consider catching less tuna in an attempt to control its price rather than focus only on sustainability of stocks.

A leading Cook Islands businessman, Temu Okotai, says the price of tuna should be regulated in overseas markets by controlling the level of catches.

He says this will increase returns to fishermen who are currently struggling to survive.

Mr Okotai says the Forum Fisheries Agency seems to be concerned solely with maintaining the sustainability of stocks but there should also be other strategies considered along with that.

"There has to be some relationship in terms of size of catch to what we think is not only a sustainable catch but also market feasibility for those who are involved - for us. I mean, if we get 100,000 tonnes, what price are we getting for that, if we get 200,000 tonnes, what price do we realistically think we're going to get. Are we going to get the same price or are we going to get less."

Temu Okotai.

The director of the Forum Fisheries Agency, Feleti Teo, says the secretariat has no comment to make on the issue at this point.