World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Observers Help Crack Down On Illegal Tuna Fishing

Observers Help Crack Down On Illegal Tuna Fishing

Evidence given by Pacific Island fisheries observers has helped secure judgements against the owners, operators and fishing masters of six tuna purse seiners, with heavy fines imposed – over USD 1.5 million in total.

All of the boats had been accused of fishing on fish aggregating devices (FADs) during the FAD ban in 2009, a measure put in place across the region to reduce catches of small bigeye tuna. Several vessels were also charged with placing FADs during the closure, and setting their nets on whales.

The observers gave evidence in two long-running court cases brought by the US authorities, who enforce regulations on their own fleet fishing in Pacific Island waters, under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. 

An official of the Enforcement Section of NOAA (the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) paid tribute to the six Pacific Islanders.

‘The observers were the heart of the cases and did a terrific job. The judge's decision demonstrates that he found the observers credible, trustworthy and persuasive,’ said Alexa Cole, the section’s deputy chief.

The observers (from Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia) were called to testify in Honolulu in early 2012. All six had been placed onboard the vessels by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), and had been trained by staff of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

An observer training officer from SPC informed the court about the training that observers receive, and the Pacific Island regional observer standards that they have to meet. An economist from FFA was also called to testify about the value of tuna catches – an important factor in setting the penalties.

Observers are trained to collect scientific information on fishing operations and catches, as well as to report any illegal fishing activities.

SPC and FFA have been supporting the development of national observer programmes in their Pacific Island member countries for many years, and some 700 observers are now deployed. Purse-seine vessels fishing in the region must carry an observer at all times. Observer training is currently supported by a number of development partners – the European Union, New Zealand, Australia and Japan – but most other costs of the observer programme are recovered from the fishing industry.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


ADC: Statement On The Assassination Of Shireen Abu Akleh

Early this morning in Jenin, Occupied Palestine, revered Palestinian voice Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian American journalist for Al Jazeera, was assassinated by Israeli Occupation Forces snipers...

Ukraine: UN Rights Office Probe Spotlights Harrowing Plight Of Civilians

Almost 76 days since Russia invaded Ukraine, countless civilians remain caught up in the horror and destruction of war, UN rights investigators said on Tuesday... More>>

UN: Michele Bachelet On Inter-religious Clashes In Ethiopia

I am deeply distressed by the recent violent clashes between Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia in which at least 30 people were reportedly killed and more than 100 others injured... More>>

Access Now: Elon Musk’s Twitter Buyout Must Not Come At The Expense Of Human Rights

Following today’s announcement that Elon Musk will acquire complete ownership of Twitter in a cash sale of around 44 billion USD, pending shareholder approval, Access Now urges Twitter’s Board, employees, and shareholders... More>>

UN: Biodiversity And Ecosystem Protection Highlighted On Mother Earth Day

Marking International Mother Earth Day, UN General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid urged on Friday, for collective action to safeguard biodiversity and protect ecosystems... More>>

Ukraine: Hundreds More Reach Safety After Fleeing Besieged Mariupol
In Ukraine, humanitarians said on Wednesday that hundreds of people have managed to reach safety after fleeing Mariupol, where there’s also been condemnation for the killing of Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius... More>>