19 Oct 2016

Cooks group angry at signing of EU tuna deal

3:16 pm on 19 October 2016

The Cook Islands environmental group Te Ipukarea is furious the Government has gone ahead and formalised a fishing deal with the European Union.

Under the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement the Cook Islands will receive nearly $US 7 million over a four-year period in return for providing access to four European-flagged purse seine fishing vessels which will target skipjack tuna.

A critical concern for Te Ipukarea is that the EU purse seiners will rely on fish aggregating devices which have a detrimental effect on species, apart from skipjack.

Its technical director Kelvin Passfield said the government should have waited until a court case over the matter is heard in March.

He believes his group and the country's traditional leaders, the Aronga Mana, have a good chance of forcing the government to cancel the deal.

"We would suggest to government 'Don't spend any of the money you're getting from the EU now because come March you may very have to give it back,' he said.