24 Aug 2010

NZ undecided about way to help curb decline of tuna stocks

4:44 pm on 24 August 2010

The head of New Zealand's delegation to the regional Tuna Commission meeting later this year says this country has an open mind about the best way to halt the decline in Pacific tuna stocks.

Greenpeace is calling for the New Zealand government to support plans to close all four areas of international waters in the Pacific to all fishing.

The head of New Zealand's delegation, Matthew Hooper, says he is not sure that the proposal for total closure is supported by all Pacific nations and Australia:

"I know that some of the Pacific Island countries that neighbour those pockets do have fishing interests, be it long line fishing or whatever in those areas and also development aspirations in respect to them. It is important with proposals like this that everyone is clear about what actually is being put forward, is it a complete ban to all fishing, or is it just certain fishing methods and also to then be able to discuss whether there are other alternatives that might be more effective."

Matt Hooper of the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries

The research presented to a scientific meeting in Tonga last week indicates an ongoing decline of the large tuna species such as Bigeye and Yellowfin.

The technical meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission also heard that stock of the smaller skipjack tuna is now under pressure.