31 March, 2015
The Prime Minister and Minister for Fisheries, Hon Henry Puna, and the Secretary of Marine Resources, Ben Ponia, have repeatedly told the public that the development of the purse seine fishery needs to be guided by science. Could they then please remind the public of the scientific studies that are guiding them, and the relevant pages, that justify the expansion of purse seining to 1250 days of fishing for skipjack tuna and bycatch. The nicely coloured graphs that were shown at the public consultation on 16th March looked very impressive, but did nothing to enlighten the public on the reason we are expanding the fishery in this way.
Te Ipukarea Society
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