2 Apr 2013

Tokelau looks to increase penalties for illegal fishing

8:18 pm on 2 April 2013

Tokelau is looking to increase penalties for illegal fishing in its exclusive economic zone.

Tokelau earns over 4 million US dollars a year from fishing activities in the Tokelau EEZ but there is concern this could be threatened by illegal fishing.

The General Manager of the Tokelau Liaison Office, Jovilisi Suveinakama, says the current penalties were set over 35 years ago and they want to bring these more in line with the rest of the Pacific region.

The plan is to increase fines from about 83-thousand US dollars to over 419-thousand US.

Mr Suveinakama says it's hoped the more stringent penalty scheme is in place by the end of the year.

"It's important because it is our heritage, this is something that we have to leave for our future generations. There are billions and billions of dollars being lost in the Pacific because of IUU activity, that's illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing, we have to make a committment, we have to make a stand."

Jovilisi Suveinakama says despite the challenges, he is sure the Tokelau administration will be able to achieve its fisheries objectives with effective sharing of information and surveillance co-operation.