Stop corporate overfishing off Cook Islands

This Greenpeace video says about itself:

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza documented FAD free purse seine tuna fishing operations in Papua New Guinea west and central Pacific in November 2011.

By Te Ipukarea Society of the Cook Islands, 26 May 2016:

BirdLife Cook Islands partner, Te Ipukarea Society, takes a stand against purse seine fishing and the damage it is doing to Pacific fisheries

The state of the marine ecosystems and the huge pressures on them from climate change, pollution and overfishing are big issues for BirdLife partners around the world. And this is especially the case for Bird Life Cook Islands partner, Te Ipukarea Society (TIS). It is part of the growing opposition to purse seine fishing, especially that associated with Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs).

TIS believes that these Fish Aggregation Devices, used in conjunction with purse seine fishing, threatens fishing stocks and should be banned in Cook Islands waters. This fishery is supposed to target skipjack tuna. However FADs attract not only skipjack but also juvenile yellowfin and bigeye tuna which are not as resilient to high fishing pressures. Bigeye tuna in particular is highly vulnerable, as the fish is slow to mature, and the juveniles caught by purse seiners using FADs are not given a chance to breed. Only 16 percent of Bigeye tuna’s original stock in the Western Central Pacific Ocean remains.

On April 15th the third anti-purse seine fishing protest march was held in Avarua, Rarotonga, almost a year to the day after the first march was held last year. Organised by Cook Island traditional leaders, TIS was a proud supporter, alongside local MP’s, fishermen and concerned members of the public. Paramount chief Makea Karika Ariki (Dame Margaret Karika), now in her 97th year, led the march. It is estimated a total of 250 people made the effort to join the march on a Friday afternoon.

A petition asking to ban purse seining, signed by over half of the voting population of the country is still sitting in the Cook Island Parliament untouched 10 months after being presented. There is real concern that the Government is not listening to the out-pouring of public concern. It has continued pushing to finalise a deal. Which will allow the EU to bring four “Super Seiners” into Cook Islands waters. These ships are some of the largest purse seine vessels in the world and are known to fish exclusively on FADs. Potential impacts on our pelagic ecosystems could be disastrous.

Scientists have discovered a way to use the incredibly loud, distinctive sounds that fish make when they gather to spawn to protect them from overfishing: here.

Ending overfishing would stop the population declines of endangered bycatch species about half the time: here.

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