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Convention On Protection Of Tuna Stocks

PM Welcomes New Signatories To Convention On Protection Of Tuna Stocks


Prime Minister Helen Clark, speaking at the Pacific Islands Forum in Kiribati, today welcomed the signing by Australia and Niue of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention.

"Pacific tuna fishing is a multi-billion dollar industry. Over 70 per cent of the world's tuna comes from the region. These resources need to be sustained for future generations.

"The new Pacific Fisheries Convention is an agreement of historic significance for the conservation and management of Pacific tuna stocks.

"It is the product of four years of extensive negotiations between Pacific Coastal States and those who fish in the region. It was concluded on 4 September, and opened for signature. Nine South Pacific Forum countries, plus the United States, and the Philippines were in a position to sign in Honolulu.

"In New Zealand's role as depository of this Convention, it is with great pleasure that we congratulate Niue and Australia today on their signing of it. This will bring to eleven the number of Forum countries who have signed the Convention.

"The Convention provides the mechanism for effective protection of the tuna stocks. It will ensure that the Pacific tuna fisheries are not adversely affected by unsustainable fishing practices.

"It also includes provisions for maintaining the biodiversity of our ocean. The Convention brings together both coastal states, who have tuna resources within their EEZs, and the distant water fishing nations, into a single management regime. We believe it balances the interests of both parties.

"We encourage those countries who were not in a position to sign in Honolulu, to do so as quickly as possible. This will send an important signal of our commitment to the sustainable utilisation of our tuna resources, and that the Convention is important to us.

"We encourage all those with a real interest in the regional fishery to sign the Convention and to participate fully in the Preparatory Conference to be convened in 2001," Helen Clark said.

Ends

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