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03, Feb, 2010

Signing South Pacific Fisheries Agreement Welcomed


Category: ECO Inc

The Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO) today welcomed New Zealand signing the South Pacific regional fisheries management agreement.

ECO Co-chairperson, Cath Wallace, said the agreement was essential for the management of pelagic and bottom fisheries in the South Pacific, including orange roughy and jack mackerel.

ECO monitored the negotiations of over 25 countries and attended the final negotiating meeting in Auckland in November 2009.

“The negotiation of the agreement was a major achievement. We can thank distinguished New Zealand international lawyer, Bill Mansfield for this, and in particular his efforts to ensure that the text of the agreement includes modern environmental principles and requirements” said Cath Wallace.

“We now have to see which countries will sign up soon and then ratify the Agreement, and which try to delay.” Ms Wallace said it was essential that all countries take further steps to protect fisheries and the marine environment during the time it takes for enough countries to ratify the agreement as required for the agreement to enter into force.”

“New Zealand played a constructive part in the negotiations and is to host the secretariat of the new South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation. Gerard van Bohemen, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand’s lead negotiator should take a bow as well.”

“The biggest fishery at risk over the next 1-3 years is the Chilean jack mackerel fishery in the eastern Pacific, but more than 90% of the bottom damaging trawlers are from New Zealand and they do a lot of damage.”

For further information contact Cath Wallace 021-891-994 or 04-463-5713, Or Barry Weeber, 021-738-807 or 04-389-1696

Notes:

  1. ECO – the Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa /NZ was established in 1972 and represents 66 groups with a concern for the environment.
  2. The negotiations began in February 2006 and were initiated by New Zealand, Australia and Chile. The Agreement covers bottom trawling species such as orange roughy, pelagic species such as jack mackerel, bottom longline species such as bluenose and alfonsino, and other non-highly migratory species.
  3. Countries competing to fish for jack mackerel, include Russia, Peru, the European Commission, the Faroe Islands, China, and Chile. The European Commission, Peru, Korea, China and Russia blocked the introduction of catch limits and other effective measures.
  4. Interim arrangements apply to bottom fishing and establish requirements to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs). New Zealand flagged vessels are the main bottom trawlers fishing for orange roughy and associated species in the South Pacific and impacting on VMEs.