17 Mar 2011

Pacific Island countries to seek better deal over tuna with US

8:20 pm on 17 March 2011

Pacific Island countries are meeting in the Marshall Islands preparing for negotiations next week with the US over the tuna treaty drawn up in the late 1980s.

At that time island countries blamed US flagged purse seiners operating in the region for much of the illegal fishing.

The US government drew up what was then regarded as a model settlement which guaranteed access for up to 40 purse seiners and provided annual compensation for the island countries.

But our correspondent Giff Johnson says with the treaty due to expire by 2013 the island countries want it updated to reflect developments such as the conservation measures initiated by the Parties to the Nauru Agreement.

"Cutting back on fishing effort and fishing days is a big part of the programme as well as getting the US to abide by areas that have been closed on the high seas and other kinds of conservation measurement."

Our Marshall Islands correspondent, Giff Johnson.