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NZ signs agreement to combat fishing pirates

Hon David Benson Pope, MP
Member of Parliament for Dunedin South
Minister of Fisheries

20 July 2005 Media Statement

New Zealand signs agreement to combat fishing pirates

New Zealand has signed an international agreement to help combat pirate fishing, Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope announced today.

The United Nations’ FAO Compliance Agreement aims to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing by putting more responsibilities on flag States to control their vessels fishing on the high seas.

Particularly, it deters the owners of fishing boats from re-flagging their vessels to another State, to avoid compliance with international fishing rules.

"This practice of re-flagging is often linked to pirate fishing," said Mr Benson-Pope. “Supporting an international framework that enables long-term sustainable use of fisheries resources is important to New Zealand, and reinforces our commitment to stamping out pirate fishing."

The agreement also sets out procedures for exchanging information on high seas fishing vessels and provides the basis for improved international cooperation to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

“Having a strong international and regional fisheries framework also helps protect our own waters from the risk of pirate fishing by foreign-flagged vessels," said Mr Benson-Pope.

“New Zealand’s existing domestic fisheries legislation already implements most of the Agreement’s obligations. Our formal acceptance of this agreement puts us in a stronger position to promote the effective conservation and management of high seas fisheries.”

New Zealand formally notified the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) of our acceptance last Thursday.

Widespread implementation of the Agreement will help promote responsible fishing practices; contribute to the elimination of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing; and assist in ensuring the long-term sustainability of fish stocks and protection of biodiversity from the adverse impacts of fishing.

ENDS

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