19 Oct 2016

Cooks Ponia says Govt committed to conservation

4:29 pm on 19 October 2016

The Cook Islands Secretary of Marine Resources is defending the Government's approach to conservation.

This is in the wake of the signing of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

That scheme will allow access for four EU, probably Spanish, purse seiners to fish the Cooks' exclusive economic zone with the EU paying a substantial fee to the government.

The scheme is been widely criticised and legal action is pending, while the government is separately trying to establish a huge marine conservation zone, the Marae Moana, but the Secretary of Marine Resources, Ben Ponia, said there was no inconsistency.

"We feel that, as we are already doing, that we can move our fishery and our zone to achieving high levels of adherence to conservation principles."

"We are not a country that is interested to simply take as much of the resource as possible. We are a small population, we can leave a fairly small footprint behind us," he said.