4 Jun 2005

Forum fisheries ministers in Marshalls to discuss major change to rules

7:38 am on 4 June 2005

Fisheries ministers from Pacific Forum countries have arrived in the Marshall Islands to try to reach an agreement on a major change to tuna fishing regulations.

The plan, to be tabled at a week-long Forum Fisheries Agency meeting, is to put more limits on purse seiner vessels.

Our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, says currently a total of 205 purse seiners are allowed to fish within the exclusive economic zones of Pacific countries.

But he says the newly proposed "Vessel Day" scheme has already drawn criticism.

"The Asian fishing companies have been building these incredibly sophisticated large what they call super seiners, which have a much higher capability of catching fish than these older purse seiners. And so they are now going to a method to giving the number of days that boats can fish."

Giff Johnson says the scheme is among other issues to be discussed at the FFA meeting of Pacific Forum members, that begins on Monday.