Te Ki o to Tatou Moana ei Angai rai ia Tatou
(Our ocean of fish is for the sustenance & nourishment of our people)
A cross section of the community gathered at Chilli’s for the launch of this important
campaign and to view the DVD “Pacific Fisheries in Crisis” which was simultaneously
shown on Vaka Television. Whilst this Greenpeace doco was at least 5 years old it illustrated very clearly the devastation to fish stocks and to the livelihood of local fishermen in the Pacific.
Those gathered agreed to the campaign to refuse purse seine fishing in Cook Islands waters and to encourage other Pacific Island Governments to do the same, as well as controlling other methods. NB: Up against countries such as Kiribati who earn $40million p.a. in licences. A Spanish company has also given them a cargo boat. Nan Hauser said that we should be concerned about this type of fishing in the Pacific and specifically in our Whale Sanctuary. The
turtles and dolphins get caught up in purse seine nets, especially the dolphins who have a
close relationship with yellowfin tuna and in fact act as pointers to the schools of fish. Some fishermen manage to release them but often the turtles break their necks from falling
on the decks and the dolphins drown due to their sensory system being damaged from
deafening when hand grenades are thrown in the water. Offers were made to provide scientific
research to back up the campaign. TIS has linked with other individuals and groups to campaign against this form of fishing. Over 1000 supporters have now signed the facebook petition created by the Northern Group. Mark Vaikai, Chairman of the Cook Islands Fishing Association raised
his concerns at the Economic Summit. Jacqui met with Dan Sua, Director of the Forum Fisheries Agency who said “it is clear that there needs to be more awareness about what MMR is trying to do. Cook Is are a leader in the region with respect to conserving fish stocks”. Members of TIS have attended public meetings held by MMR. Together with the support of the media, adverts and further screening of documentaries, the public is now well informed about the perils of this
inappropriate fishing proposal. During the Environmental segment of the Economic Summit, a number of questions relating to the purse seine fishing were posed due to the lack of time available during the MMR session the previous day. TIS will continue to keep the pressure on the Government to relook at options available. Donations specifically for this campaign welcomed to cover the media advertising. Special thanks to Vaka Television for making their premises available for meetings and showing of the dvds to the public.