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Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Cook Islands cabinet backs EU fishing deal

The Cook Islands cabinet has given its support to the Prime Minister to proceed with a fisheries agreement with the European Union. The prime minister Henry Puna said the Pacific was pursuing the best course for the future of the region's fisheries, and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement illustrated how the Cook Islands was cooperating at the broader international level. Mr Puna said the main element of the agreement, worth 6.5 million US dollars, was access for four EU purse seiners to Cook Islands' waters to fish up to 7,000 tonnes of tuna a year. The support from Cabinet follows consultations in the northern island group earlier this month. The Marine Resources Secretary Ben Ponia said at each public meeting, there had been majority support for government to go ahead with the agreement. Mr Ponia said the consultations showed a restored confidence in government that the fisheries would be managed well. He indicated that further consultations would centre on sector support including fuel and outboard motor subsidies for non-commercial fishermen, the strengthening of capacity compliance and enforcement and access to the EU tuna export market.

Source: radionz.co.nz