29 Feb 2012

Pristine areas in Pacific at risk amid bureaucratic hold-ups

2:18 pm on 29 February 2012

A US-based conservation group says three pristine Pacific Ocean areas are at risk because regulations banning commercial fishing there have become bogged down in bureaucracy.

The Marine Conservation Institute has petitioned the US federal government to outline the penalties it will impose on fishers working within the marine national monuments, declared by President Bush three years ago..

The sanctuaries include the Marianas trench near Guam and the surrounds of Rose Atoll in American Samoa.

A spokesman for the institute, William Chandler, says he has heard commercial fishing is occurring.

"The bottom line is if a US fisherman wanted to go into a monument to fish there's really nothing that can be done even though he's acting illegally based on the president's order."

William Chandler of the Marine Conservation Institute.