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Niue Treaty on Cooperation in Fisheries

Niue Treaty on Cooperation in Fisheries

APIA, SAMOA, WEDNESDAY 16 OCTOBER 2008:

At the second meeting of Parties to the Niue Treaty on Cooperation
in Fisheries Surveillanceand Law Enforcement in the South Pacific
Region, held yesterday,Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
members agreed to cooperate further to combat illegal fishing.

The Niue Treaty is an agreement on cooperation between FFA members
about monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing – it includes
provisions on exchange of information (about where the position and
speed of vessels at sea, which vessels are without licences) plus
procedures for cooperation in monitoring, prosecuting and penalising
illegal fishing vessels. The efforts by the Niue Treaty Parties to
work together and with regional organisations were supported by the
Pacific Forum Leaders in their 2007 Vava'u Declaration on Pacific
Fisheries Resources and in the 2008 Niue Declaration.

Niue Treaty signatories are FFA members and they cooperate to share
information and cooperate in regional surveillance operations – such
as Operation Kurukuru, Operation Bigeye, Operation Island Chief,
Operation Rai Balang and Operation Tui Moana – for the period of the
operation. They also use bilateral and trilateral subsidiary
agreements, but there are advantages in having a multilateral
agreement to combat illegal fishing. By having just one regional level
agreement on this issue, it spares small island developing States the
administration and cost of having to negotiate many bilateral
agreements. This agreement means that monitoring, control and
surveillance officers from different countries can then act, with
increased speed and efficiency, to combat illegal fishing.

This year's meeting agreed to progress work on a draft multilateral
subsidiary agreement patterned on the Niue Treaty subsidiary
agreements, which would spell out the details of how countries will
cooperate in their efforts to detect and prosecute illegal fishing.

The Niue Treaty is a complementary initiative to FFA efforts, endorsed
by Fisheries Ministers, to develop a regional Monitoring, Control and
Surveillance Strategy.
FFA Director General Su'a N.F. Tanielu said: "We are pleased to see
progress by the Niue Treaty Parties towards implementing their
agreement to cooperate on a regional basis for better control of
fishing in the region. The subsidiary agreement currently in
development will be an important tool to combat illegal, unreported
and unregulated fishing for the countries involved."

"This regional effort is consistent with calls by Forum Leaders who
said in the Vava'u Declaration they 'supported and endorsed efforts by
FFA to take forward as a matter of urgency work to examine the
potential for new multilateral Pacific regional arrangements patterned
on the Niue Treaty Subsidiary Agreement model for exchange of
fisheries law enforcement data, cross-vesting of enforcement powers,
and use of fisheries data for other law enforcement activities'."

ENDS

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