Honiara, May 13, 2013 – Local tuna boat operators targeting albacore in the South Pacific are under threat of being pushed out of operation altogether due to the steady growth in numbers of subsidized foreign fishing vessels. (i)
According to a recent report by the Forum Fisheries Agency (ii), certain foreign fishing fleets were receiving subsidies in the form of fuel offsets, new vessel construction, preferential tax treatment and payment for access fees.
“These subsidies fuel the plunder of South Pacific albacore and are now leading to localized depletions and declines in catch rates across the fishery, jeopardizing the livelihoods of locally owned small-scale tuna boat operators in Pacific Island countries” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific oceans campaigner, Duncan Williams.
Greenpeace is urging Pacific nations attending the 85th Annual Forum Fisheries Committee meeting in Honiara, Solomon Islands this week to support local, sustainable small-scale fisheries over foreign owned, large-scale fishing vessels and fleets that utilize high-impact fishing practices and operate under a ‘pay, fish and go’ model.
“Favorable policies must be put in place by governments at the national and regional levels to assist this transformation of Pacific fisheries.”
“There is growing demand in major markets for sustainable tuna caught by socially responsible fisheries. Our region is well positioned to develop its small-scale and community level tuna fisheries to meet this demand and bring the benefits back to our countries and island communities,” added Greenpeace oceans campaigner, Duncan Williams.
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans, including the four high seas pockets known as the Pacific Commons (iii) to be all declared off limits to fishing. The environmental group is also seeking a ban on the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) in purse seine fisheries and a 50% reduction in the catch of bigeye tuna.
The 85th Annual FFC Meeting concludes this Friday, May 17.