2 Mar 2006

Greenpeace says tripartite deal a start in effort to control illegal fishing in the south Pacific

9:11 pm on 2 March 2006

The environmental activist organisation Greenpeace says South Pacific countries are sitting on a time bomb if illegal fishing is not contained within three to five years.

It says key species risk being critically overfished.

It says a tripartite declaration on maritime surveillance just signed by Australia, New Zealand and France is encouraging.

A Greenpeace spokesperson, Nilesh Goundar, says it's evident that until there is stronger monitoring, and compliance and surveillance systems are strengthened, foreign vessels will continue to fish the region illegally.

He says illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing undermines those who respect the rules and pay the necessary regulation costs.

Mr Gounder says Greenpeace would like to see practical help provided to Pacifc Island countries who, because of resource constraints and competing development priorities, do not have the ability to combat illegal fishing.