Greenpeace lobbies Kiribati government over industrial fishing
Greenpeace has been lobbying the government of Kiribati to not renew the licence of two of the world's largest purse seine fishing vessels next year.
The environmental organisation Greenpeace has been lobbying the government of Kiribati to not renew the licence of two of the world's largest purse seine fishing vessels next year.
But an Ocean Campaigner, Lagi Toribau (Torimbau) says fish stocks in Kiribati are dwindling, with local fishermen catching less and having to sail further out than ever before.
Mr Toribau told Jamie Tahana that he's been trying to convince officials on Tarawa that allowing vessels like the Spanish-owned Albatun Tres and Albacora Uno to use Fish Aggregation Devices isn't sustainable.
LAGI TORIBAU: At the moment there's two vessels hold the bilateral agreement with the government of Kiribati and their licence is coming up for renewal sometime mid next year. So one of the issues that we've been raising with the Kiribati government, I've actually just returned from Kiribati, to explain the intensity of this issue and how important it is for them to seriously consider furthering any licences to these vessels given the issues that we have highlighted.
JAMIE TAHANA: What issues? And how are they linked to these two vessels?
LT: Within the Western and Central Pacific since the last ten years and there's a huge focus on industrial fishing from key fishing nations like the European Union and the US and the Asian countries, we have seen a drastic, drastic decline in the key tuna species. Particularly big eye and yellow fin tuna, those that are normally used for sashimi. And one of the biggest contributors to the constant decline in a lot of these species is, is part of this is we just have way too many boats fishing in the region. And also there's this device called the fish aggregation device, which is almost like a fish magnet, and that increases the efficiency of vessels. And these two Spanish vessels they specifically use this device when they're fishing inside Kiribati waters. And we have been asking for the last few years for this type of destructive fishing method to be banned from the region. A lot of local communities and local fishermen are, they are constantly seeing the decline in fish stocks around their own waters, they're having to go further out at sea, it's not like how fishing used to be, how they used to enjoy fishing. So one, we simply cannot afford any other new entry into the fisheries in the region; and secondly we need to start reducing the current fishing levels. And one of those areas is to eliminate and get rid of some of those massive vessels that are also using destructive fishing techniques.
JT: And you've been lobbying the Kiribati government about this?
LT: Yes for well over the last five years we have been campaigning for a ban on the use of fish aggregation devices.
JT: And what reception have you had from the Kiribati government to these proposals? Because they do rely a lot on this income from these permits?
LT: Yes, precisely. The economics of this fishery is quite significant for a lot of the Pacific Island countries, particularly Kiribati, where the issuing licences and the revenue that they get from this industry is quite significant for them economically. So that is an area that is something that we normally get as a response back in terms of just balancing out from their perspective. I've just returned from Kiribati where I've just taken the liberty of explaining this issue to the government and the significance and the importance of them reconsidering when they're negotiating their bilateral agreement with these two Spanish vessels next year. The region already has an agreement where they will be imposing a ban for up to five months on the use of these fish magnets, next year. And we are hoping that this can be further increased and that this is definitely backed up by the government. And the Kiribati government is part of a regional grouping they are supposed to be implementing a four to five month ban on the use of this device next year and we certainly hope that these Spanish vessels are not exempted from it.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: