24 Oct 2011

PNA says science backs restrictions on tuna fishing

5:58 am on 24 October 2011

The month-long closure of a tuna processing plant in the Marshall Islands is not leading to a rethink of a tuna fishing restriction.

Pan Pacific Foods in Majuro has been closed for nearly a month because the supply of fish was down during a three month ban on the use of fish aggregation devices or FADs.

In 2009 as part of measures to reduce the tuna catch in the region the Parties to the Nauru Agreement instituted an annual ban on FADs, a fishing technique which attracts large schools of fish.

The director of PNA in the Marshall Islands, Transform Aqorau, says the strategy is backed by science.

"We've been advised by the scientists that we need to take measures to reduce mortality of big eye tuna because big eye tuna is approaching a state of over exploitation. The response to that has been to put in place a three month prohibition of fishing on FADS because FAD fishing has the biggest impact."

Transform Aqorau says the ban will extend to four months next year.