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Major Tuna Fishing Bans in Western Pacific Region



Map of the Western Pacific Ocean

According to the Solomon Times, two fishing-free zones will be created in the region to combat over-fishing in these waters. Eight countries have taken the important step of banning foreign fishing vessels from two zones. According to Greenpeace, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu have all come together in a new agreement.

The agreement states that firstly, these countries will ban "foreign fishing vessels licensed to fish in their waters from fishing in two regions of the Pacific Commons adjacent to them".

Secondly, it also "requires foreign fishing vessels to retain their full catches". This means that it will "cut the time fishing boats spend at sea and the amount of tuna they catch" as "at present they throw away non-tuna species to make room in their holds for the more valuable catch."

Thirdly, it will also be compulsory to carry fisheries observers on board at all times.
Fish aggregation devices (used to attract juvenile bigeye and yellowfin tuna) will be banned in these countries waters for three months of the year. This conservation measure will discourage harvesting of these highly migratory species.

According to a report by the Telegraph (Telegraph.co.uk), the two fishing-free zones will be firstly, between Papua New Guinea and Palau and the second "bounded by PNG, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia."

The new rules under the agreement effect on 15 June, 2008.