This is a link for our facebook page, pushing for a ban on purse seine fishing in the Cook Islands. The reasons why we are taking this step are included on the page, but basically it is because the Cook Islands Government is refusing to stop purse seiners using drifting fish aggregation devices (FADs) in our waters. When purse seiners fish around FADs, they catch a lot more than just skipjack tuna. The bycatch, which is often dumped dead over the side, as well as the juvenile bigeye tuna bycatch, is unacceptable. We hope orgaisations in other countries in out West and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) will join us in campaigning to stop this unsustainable fishery, based on FADs.
The link can be found on our “LINKS” page, or you can copy the text below into your browser window.
27 March, 2015
Dear Prime Minister,
Unfortunately you were not present at the Ministry of Marine Resources public consultation on 16th March. If you were, you would have seen that every member of the public that spoke up was against purse seining as it is conducted in the Cook Islands. Some of this was emotive, but much of the objection was based on science, due to the impact on overfished stocks of bigeye tuna. The Secretary of Marine Resources said that MMR would take public feedback into account. In order help MMR gather this feedback, Te Ipukarea Society has sent out an email far and wide across the Cook Islands. The response has been exceptional, from many organisations as well as individuals, and Pa Enua governments, providing support for a petition to Parliament for a ban purse seining in the country. We are therefore proceeding with this petition.
It takes some time to draw up a petition in a format that is acceptable under the Standing Orders of Parliament, and to then get this out to the public as a hard copy for signatures. We are therefore writing this letter to you, and copying Ben Ponia and the Editor of Cook Islands News, to ask that no negotiations for additional purse seining licences in the Cook Islands, beyond those that existed on March 16th at the time of the MMR public consultation, be entered into before the end of April. By that time it will become obvious to you, as Minister for Marine Resources, based on the number of signatures received, that the level of objection of Cook Islanders to purse seining is more than sufficient for you to act on the request of the petitioners.
Te Ipukarea Society