Progress In Pacific Fisheries Protection
[Rachel's Introduction: "Anderton said he was pleased about broad agreement on a precautionary approach to fisheries management, whereby all parties consider long term sustainability of a fishery over short term fishing opportunities."]
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New Zealand has continued to negotiate for a sustainable management regime for fisheries in the South Pacific in a meeting at Ecuador, and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton believes progress has been made.

Participants from over 30 countries around the world met in Guayaquil, Equador, for the fifth round of negotiations to establish a South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) to manage non-highly migratory fisheries on the high seas.

That includes fisheries such as orange roughy, which some estimate face a high likelihood of extinction in a matter of years if nothing is done to conserve the existing population.

Anderton said the South Pacific was one of the last high seas fisheries that is not being managed.

"It is a chance for New Zealand and like-minded countries to help establish a sustainable management regime on our back door-step, similar to the management we have in our own Exclusive Economic Zones." he said in a statement.

The current meeting aims to advance negotiations on a Convention text that the Organisation would conduct themselves by.

Anderton said he was pleased about broad agreement on a precautionary approach to fisheries management, whereby all parties consider long term sustainability of a fishery over short term fishing opportunities.

The principle, a foundation of much international environmental law, asks parties to consider sustainable practice even where the data is uncertain or inconclusive.

Anderton says New Zealand has already begun to implement interim measures, but progress by other parties has been disappointing.

"We are very concerned over the rapid build up of vessels from distant fishing nations targeting the jack mackerel stock that straddles Chile's waters, which is the largest fishery in the South Pacific."

Data being submitted from countries on catchment sizes and number of vessels will be used to get a broad picture of fishery sizes throughout the South Pacific, hopefully allowing debate on how to ensure an overall sustainable approach.

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