7 Dec 2004

Calls in FSM for Tuna Commission to be set up without delay

7:39 am on 7 December 2004

Pacific fishing nations, meeting in Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, to make the final preparations for the establishment of the Tuna Commission, have been called on to set it up without delay.

The Commission is to meet for the first time from Thursday.

At the last preparatory meeting Kiribati's Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Development, Tetabo Nakara, appealed for delegates not to be distracted by issues that are not relevant to the Commission.

Mr Nakara said the conference needed to focus on getting the Tuna Commission "up and running" as quickly as possible so new controls on tuna fishing on the high seas, the area outside exclusive economic zones, can be brought in.

More than 200 officials representing 29 countries are at the preparatory meeting but just 17 are members of the Commission so far.

That includes 14 from the Pacific, plus China, Taiwan and Korea.

Pacific countries are hoping that other fishing nations, such as Japan and the United States, will endorse the commission this week.