5 Mar 2013

SPC seeks funding for fisheries observers programme

9:38 pm on 5 March 2013

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community, or SPC, is scrambling to find money for a programme that trains observers in Pacific fisheries.

The observers work on fishing vessels where they take samples of tuna and record the size, type and catch location of the fish.

The New Zealand government is phasing out its contribution to the programme, leaving the European Union as the only sponsor.

The Director of the SPC's Fisheries Programme, Mike Batty, says the tuna industry is worth billions of dollars to the region, and the observers play a vital role in protecting the industry.

"This is a very big fishery and observers are really the eyes and ears of Pacific Island countries on the water and it's been a high priority of the SPC to provide observer training for a number of years."

Mike Batty says he hopes the SPC is trying to convince the EU to provide more money to fully fund the programme.