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Maritime Surveillance Agreement with France

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

05 April 2006
Media Release

Peters signs Maritime Surveillance Agreement with France

The signing of an agreement between New Zealand and France to cooperate on maritime surveillance and combat illegal fishing makes a significant contribution towards protecting Pacific fisheries resources, says Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

Mr Peters signed the Joint Declaration on Maritime Surveillance and combating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing with France’s Minister for Overseas Territories HE Francois Baroin at Parliament today.

“For most small island states in the Pacific fisheries is their single most valuable economic resource," said Mr Peters.

“This agreement will help secure the protection and sustainable development of this resource which is of fundamental importance to the region.”

Australia is also a party to the agreement, with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and Mr Baroin signing last month.

Mr Peters said the need for greater cooperation on maritime surveillance in the region is highlighted by the fact that IUU fishing in the Pacific is estimated to be worth up to NZ$570 million per year.

"Fisheries in the Pacific are valued at around NZ$2.8 billion per year, of which NZ$1.1-$1.3 billion is taken in the waters of Pacific Island countries."

This arrangement outlines the intention of the three parties, including:

- Australia, France and New Zealand’s commitment to combating IUU fishing in the Pacific Islands region.

- Australia, France and New Zealand will work in partnership with Pacific island countries, and regional Pacific organisations, and international bodies to strengthen cooperation on maritime surveillance.

- Australia, France and New Zealand will exchange information to facilitate practical, flexible and coordinated responses to maritime surveillance in the region through the use of aerial surveillance and surface ships.

"This demonstrates the strength of the relationship we have with France and Australia in the region and our combined commitment to protecting the fisheries resources for the benefit of Pacific island countries," concluded Mr Peters.


ENDS

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