PNG signs Pacific tuna treaty

  • Pete Hodgson
Fisheries and Aquaculture

Fisheries Minister Pete Hodgson has welcomed the signing of a major treaty on South Pacific Fisheries by his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Ron Ganarafo.

Mr Ganarafo, who is in Wellington, is to add PNG's signature to the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific, which was concluded in Honolulu last September and lodged in New Zealand.

The Convention is an agreement of historic significance for the conservation and management of Pacific tuna stocks. It is the product of four years of negotiation to establish cooperation between the Pacific coastal and fishing states in whose waters the fish are found.

"Pacific tuna fishing is a multi-billion dollar industry," Mr Hodgson said. "Over 70% of the world's tuna comes from the Pacific region. These resources must be sustained for future generations."

PNG will be the fourteenth country to sign the Convention. The others are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Philippines, Samoa, Tuvalu, the United States and Vanuatu.

"Mr Ganarafo and I also had useful talks on other issues yesterday," Mr Hodgson said. "I was able, for example, to emphasise to him our firm commitment to work towards the establishment of a South Pacific Whale Sanctuary."

Mr Ganarafo is to travel to Auckland today and will leave New Zealand on Friday morning.