26 Feb 2015

American Samoa subsidies to fisheries discussed

12:10 pm on 26 February 2015

The United States government has been asked to consider developing Pacific Island countries when making decisions about government subsidies to fisheries.

The US Presidential Task Force on Illegal Fishing has recommended the elimination of fishery subsidies within the next five years because of overfishing and illegal fishing.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency director general James Movick says while he supports the elimination of subsidies, some countries face hurdles in developing their domestic fisheries in competition with more developed fleets.

He says under the circumstances, it is important to retain policy that supports domestic enterprises, and government-to-government payments in support of access arrangements do not constitute a subsidy.

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council's environmental policy coordinator Eric Kingma says there is an increase of highly subsidized Chinese vessels throughout the South Pacific.

He says they are harvesting thousands and thousands of tons of albacore, and sending it back to China.