1 Jul 2014

US fishery council slams President's proposed ban

4:28 pm on 1 July 2014

The fisheries council managing the United States' Pacific territories says President Barack Obama's announcement he would drastically increase its no-fishing zones will harm fishermen and provide no conservation benefit.

Mr Obama has signalled he may use executive powers to increase the current zones by up to seven times.

The Vice Chair of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, Ed Ebisui, says there has been no consultation with the stakeholders, and he doesn't know what the rationale for the decision was.

"We in the United States import 90 per cent of our seafood that's consumed locally. And given that, then we're going to take three quarters of a million miles and say 'no fishing'? That's somewhat counter-productive. And you know the fishing that's going on in there, the US domestic fishing is responsible, it is sustainable, the fishery is a model fishery for international tuna commissions."

Ed Ebisui says the local fishermen, who already abide by limits set by the territories, will be the ones to suffer.