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OCI wants ban on purse seine FADs

Saturday June 09, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
‘Stop Purse Seining Now’ was the message leading protestors as they began a protest march from Avatiu Harbour in April, 2015. About 100 protestors took part in the demonstration which called for a total ban on purse seine fi shing in Cook Islands waters. 18060849 ‘Stop Purse Seining Now’ was the message leading protestors as they began a protest march from Avatiu Harbour in April, 2015. About 100 protestors took part in the demonstration which called for a total ban on purse seine fi shing in Cook Islands waters. 18060849

In the lead-up to the June 14 election, CINews is asking the main political parties to comment on issues of interest to the public. Today, independent candidate for Tupapa Maraerenga, Teresa Manarangi Trott, also contributes to the discussion. The question: Many in the community have expressed concern about purse seine fishing in the Cook Islands. What is your position on this?

One Cook Islands

Our position is clear. The people have spoken in the referendum undertaken several years ago and we will support the banning of FAD s for purse seining in our territorial waters.

Democratic Party

The Ministry of Marine Resources CI Offshore Fisheries report in 2015 cited a total of 65 purse seine vessels authorised to fish in Cook Islands waters in 2015.The EU agreement is a prime example of the mishandling of our valuable resources. The EU agreement allows Spanish super seiners that have the worst international reputation for unauthorised fishing, into our fishing zone. It gives the EU considerable control over our resource as well as the ability to extend the term of its agreement as long as the resource lasts. It also allows huge volumes of juvenile tuna to be taken from our waters at a time when our resources are already under threat.

A Democratic government will end as quickly as possible any agreement that will bring about the destruction of our fishing resources. We will review the legislation around granting and renewal of fishing licenses towards a sustainable system based on scaled quotas.

We will also invest funds raised from fishing licenses back into the development of our own fishing industry generating employment and income for our people. We intend to increase training programmes and placement of Cook Islands observers on foreign fishing vessels licensed to operate in our EEZ and to assess the development of aquaculture industries in the Cook Islands to inform decision making on future growth in that area.

Given the controversial nature of decision making regarding fisheries we also undertake to implement legislative and policy changes to clarify the functions of the Ministry of Marine Resources

Independent candidate for Tupapa Maraerenga, Teresa Manarangi Trott

Purse seine management in the region, under the WCPFC Tuna Commission, recognises that each coastal country like the Cook Islands sets a limit for their national waters or exclusive economic zone.

The Cook Islands has established a limit for tuna fishing based on past and recent advice from Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and has notified this publically and to the WCPFC

The responsibility of the Cook Islands as a member of the commission is to ensure they abide by their self-nominated purse seine EEZ limit, (described both in number of fishing days and catch of species) when they issue licenses or other arrangements to fishing vessels that operate in their national waters

The limit is the determination the Cook Islands has made considering the best available science from SPC of a maximum total set of potential opportunities for harvest.

How the Cook Islands decides to use this opportunity is an important question that is posed by all parties considering whether the Cook Islands fishery is adequately monitored and managed. But if we do not do this now, who will get the benefit?

We need to be vigilant and continue to have Cook Islanders who able to professionally manage this resource and understand all the issues, and will support the best interests of all Cook Islanders.

Note: No response was received from the Cook Islands Party to this question