30 Aug 2013

Stop urged to purse seine talks in Cooks

3:00 pm on 30 August 2013

People on Mauke in the Cook Islands have started up a petition aimed at stopping purse seine fishing.

Environmentalists and local residents Andrew and June Hosking are behind the drive to persuade the prime minister, Henry Puna, to end negotiations with the European Union.

They're also calling for all purse seine fishing to be phased out within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone and fish aggregating devices only to be allowed by small-scale fishers.

They want a review of prices charged to foreign vessels which reflect the true value of fish which they say is a resource more valuable than oil.

The petition also calls for fishing to be kept at a sustainable level to ensure food security for future generations.

The Cook Islands and the European Union are in the midst of negotiations for a Fisheries Partnership Agreement, allowing four purse seiners to fish in the country's waters.

Mr Puna says he intends to consult heavily on the proposed deal and has also expressed concern it could be destabilising.