22 Aug 2006

Greenpeace calls for action to prevent overfishing in Pacific Island region

6:43 pm on 22 August 2006

Greenpeace says Pacific Island countries should reduce the number of fishing licenses handed out and cut allowable catch levels, by 50 percent, to stop the overfishing of tuna.

Greenpeace's Oceans Team leader, Nilesh Gounder, says 2 million tonnes of tuna are now fished from the region each year, up from the 1.6 million tonnes in the late 90s when catch levels provoked concern.

He says they are worried that bigeye and yellowfin tuna are being overfished.

Mr Gounder says Pacific Islands should raise the cost of licenses being handed out to foreign fishing fleets.

"If you can get a single bluefin tuna being sold on the Tokyo market for 170,000 U.S. dollars, and the Pacific Islands is getting only 5 percent of that, something is clearly wrong somewhere. It's time for the Pacific Islanders to wake up, and to unite, and to combat this problem."

Mr Gounder says Greenpeace is also recommending that a large marine reserve be set up in the high seas in the region, that the Tuna Commission set the catch limits, and that there is a moratorium on the construction of foreign longliners.