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NZ helping to strengthen Cooks' marine resources

Rt Hon Winston Peters
Minister of Foreign Affairs

9 June 2006

NZ helping to strengthen Cooks' marine resources

New Zealand's international development agency, NZAID, is working with AusAID and the Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources to strengthen the management and sustainable use of marine resources in the Cooks.

At 1.8 million square kilometres, the Cook Islands has one of the largest exclusive economic zones in the Pacific, and marine resources are its largest export earner.

“Improving the management and sustainability of this resource will ensure the Cook Islands can continue to benefit from it into the future," Foreign Minister Winston Peters said today, on the first day of a three-day visit to the Cooks.

New Zealand is providing around $5 million over an initial three-year period to support the development of offshore and inshore fisheries, and aquaculture in the Cooks. This will include supporting the recovery of the black pearl industry, for which the Cook Islands is famous.

The programme also has a strong health and environment focus, with local communities working with the government to reduce the pollution in the lagoon ecosystems on Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

“The health of the lagoon reflects the health of the people as it is their food basket," said Mr Peters.

“I am looking forward to all Cook Islanders benefiting from their rich marine resources for generations to come.”

ENDS


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