Two foreign fishing boats were boarded in Tongan waters and one apprehended during a ten-day maritime surveillance operation to quell illegal fishing across the South Pacific Ocean, that ended last Friday 23 May.
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There is a urgent need for Pacific nations to rise above national agendas and act regionally, to respond effectively to the economic crisis in the Pacific’s albacore long line fisheries, warns the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Director-General James Movick. Pacific countries will also need to confront distant water fishing nations to reconcile their narrow fishing interests with their broader role as key strategic and development partners of this region, he said.
Overfishing of tuna in the Pacific Islands has led to calls to substantially reduce fishing effort for Big-eye and Bluefin and to introduce strengthened catch limits for Albacore. Meeting in Cairns, Australia this week, Pacific islands delegates to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) are renewing their efforts for sustainable management of tuna stocks.