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Fiji Time: 3:01 AM on Sunday 20 April

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Develop local fishing sector

Torika Tokalau
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

IT is up to the Pacific Island countries including Fiji to take matters into their own hands and phase out licensing of distant water fishing vessels.

This was the opinion of Greenpeace Australia Pacific Oceans campaigner Duncan Williams following the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission 10th meeting on December 6.

A Greenpeace statement said the meeting agreed to cap the entry of new purse seine and long line vessels into the fishery by developed fishing nations.

"This was a much needed and overdue action, but fishing capacity needs to be reduced, not just capped," Mr Williams said.

"It's now up to Pacific Island countries to take matters into their own hands and phase out licensing of distant water fishing vessels.

"Instead, they must develop a sustainable and locally owned tuna fishing sector."

The commission also failed to regulate the regions out-of-control long line fleets and the closure of important areas of high seas to fishing by these fleets.

"It was a shame that efforts by Pacific Island countries to curb increasing long line capacity in the albacore fishery were blocked by China.

"China led a powerful grouping of east Asian fishing powers that also prevented the closure of the eastern high seas pocket known for illegal and dubious fishing activity."