19 Aug 2013

French Polynesia fishermen say foreign vessels will threaten them

7:36 am on 19 August 2013

French Polynesia's professional fishermen have again expressed their opposition to opening up the territory's exclusive economic zone to outsiders.

In an open letter to the marine resources minister, Tearii Alpha, the group says he will be mortgaging the children's future, if a deal is struck to let European fleets into the area.

The minister has had met the fishermen to assure them that no decision has been made since last month's talks in Brussels with the European Commission.

Mr Alpha has spoken of a need to reform the fisheries sector soon and according to local media, he warned them that the United Nations could order the opening up of fishing quotas within French Polynesian waters.

The letter says the response to the European Commission can only be that access is not up for negotiation.

This comes only days after the French Polynesian government signed an agreement with a Chinese company for an aquaculture joint venture in the Tuamotus worth hundreds of millions of dollars.